2018 prospect Sam Darnold most talked about player at NFL combine

Photo of 2018 prospect Sam Darnold most talked about player at NFL combine

Wednesday was Day 1 of the NFL combine, and after front-office executives and coaches got their first chance to speak with the 2017 draft class, the most talked about prospect was someone who isn't even eligible.

USC quarterback Sam Darnold is not eligible until the 2018 draft, as he was a redshirt freshman in 2016, still, he has teams salivating after an impressive first season, according to Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com.

"This isn't a big surprise," Jeremiah said. "Personnel executives have spent the last month or so watching a ton of tape. When you're studying draft-eligible defenders against USC, (Darnold) jumps off the screen. He only has one year of college-playing experience, but he's clearly captured the attention of NFL evaluators."

After not being named the starter heading into the 2016 season, Darnold took over the reins after the Trojans started 1-2. Dropping his first start of his career, Darnold guided USC to nine straight wins, topped off with an epic Rose Bowl performance.

Trailing by 14 points, Darnold went a perfect 10-for-10 in the fourth quarter with two touchdowns to lead USC to a 52-49 victory over Penn State and finish with a Rose Bowl record of 473 total yards of offense.

For the 2016 season, Darnold threw for 3,086 yards, 31 touchdowns against nine interceptions, but his ability to scramble and extend plays, a la Russell Wilson, at 6-foot-4, 225 pounds has NFL teams hoping he comes out after his sophomore season.

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