By Sam Scanlon ’19
Draft Day is just around the corner. In recent history the 2018 NFL Draft has one of the most highly anticipated drafts due to the skill and athleticism of most of the prospects, but also because it is focused heavily on quarterbacks. However, there is no clear answer as to who will be the first overall selection.
For the second consecutive season, the Cleveland Browns will be making the first overall selection. The Browns finished the 2017 season with a record of 0-16, following a 2016 campaign that landed them at 1-15.
With a plethora of good quarterbacks on the table, along with some exceptional athletes, the Browns have several options. When Roger Goodell takes the stage for the first time on Thursday night, he will be joined by University of Southern California Quarterback Sam Darnold as the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
It is hard to not select Saquon Barkley, who spent the last three seasons as the running back for Pennsylvania State University, shattering numerous school records in the process. However, based on the Browns’ immediate needs, Darnold makes more sense than Barkley. The Browns recently filled their running back void during the offseason by acquiring Carlos Hyde, so a franchise quarterback is now absolutely imperative for the Browns, and Darnold is their guy.
The Browns have had terrible luck trying to find their starting quarterback, as seven different players have started a game under center over the last three seasons. The Browns have to pick a quarterback. Darnold has proven to be the most NFL-ready quarterback as he possesses the necessary qualities that successful NFL quarterbacks have had historically. He is an extremely precise pocket passer who can also be very mobile and evade defenders with his excellent footwork. Darnold has all the intangibles that it takes to be a successful quarterback in the NFL and jumpstart the future of the Cleveland Browns.
In his two seasons as a starter for the USC Trojans, Darnold threw for 7,229 yards and 57 touchdown passes. His size, arm strength, and precision have shown to be exactly what the Cleveland Browns need as their former failed starting quarterbacks such as Johnny Manziel and DeShone Kizer have been smaller and more mobile.
Darnold checks nearly every box based on what it takes to be successful in the NFL and what the Browns should be looking for in a franchise quarterback, so it should be a no-brainer to select Sam Darnold for the first overall pick.