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The Sports Daily
Sam Darnold firing up the 2018 draft hype

There were knocks on just about every quarterback who was drafted in 2017.

USC’s Sam Darnold hasn’t decided if he’ll enter the 2018 draft, but if he does he’s trying to cross at least one item off his list of weaknesses.

Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN seems to think that Darnold will declare for the draft. According to The Orange County Register, Darnold sits atop Kiper’s first 2018 mock draft.

Kiper noted, however, that Darnold has a long throwing motion.

Darnold is working on that with the help of Jordan Palmer, younger brother of former USC quarterback Carson Palmer.

“His circle is, when your hands come apart, the ball comes down a little bit, and then it starts to come back up and then it goes all the way up behind your head and it goes forward when you throw,” said Palmer, who runs a camp called QB Summit. “Right now, Sam’s circle is bigger than it needs to be.”

I’m not overhauling or changing anything. I’m just trying to help him make something more efficient.”

Darnold completed 67 percent of his passes in 2016 with 31 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He threw five touchdown passes, including the game-tying one with 1:20 left, in a 52-49 Rose Bowl win over Penn State. Darnold compared his throwing motion to that of Jameis Winston, who also adjusted his delivery after he was drafted first overall in 2015.

Even though Winston is far from a finished product, any parallel to him gives quarterback-needy teams one more reason to long for the 2018 draft if Darnold makes himself available.