USC's Sam Darnold is my top-rated QB prospect this year, and I project him to go No. 1 overall to the Cleveland Browns when the 2018 NFL Draft opens next month. In fact, he's my highest-graded QB prospect of the past three drafts. He'll be the center of attention Wednesday at USC's pro day, and with that in mind, I thought it would be the perfect time to reach out to five NFL executives with this question: What's the best NFL comp for Darnold? Here are their answers.
Executive 1: Brett Favre
"He's very similar to Favre. Both guys have unconventional mechanics, similar mobility and similar playmaking ability when the play breaks down. They both take some risks and have streaky accuracy. Both guys have the ability to lead a team back after falling behind."
Executive 2:Ryan Tannehill
"He reminds me of Tannehill. They have the same size, athletic ability and arm talent. You see the big-play flashes, but too many turnovers and head-scratching plays."
Executive 4: Tony Romo
"I see a lot of Romo in his play. Both guys are very athletic and they have similar arm strength. They are smart, accurate and have a special moxie about them. Also, they have the same build."
Executive 5: Romo
"He's Romo. He's a gamer, improviser and he can make things happen because of his feet. He isn't afraid to take some risks, either. You live with the bonehead plays because he offsets those with big plays. I think they have the same level of arm talent, as well."
Summary: That's two votes for Romo and one apiece for Favre, Goff and Tannehill.
Conclusion: These were some interesting, and wide-ranging, choices. I'm 100 percent on board with the Romo comparison. I've been touting that one throughout the fall. However, it really stands out whenever you see a player compared to Favre, the Pro Football Hall of Famer. I had Darnold and Goff rated very closely when it comes to their draft grade. The one mention I struggle with here is Tannehill. I thought Darnold was more instinctive and natural at the position in college. Tannehill was very gifted, but he wasn't quite as dynamic on broken plays.
The one thing that really stands out about these opinions is the fact that Darnold is going to produce some "wow" plays as well as some "what were you thinking" plays. Some teams will be OK with that, but it will be an issue for others.