No. 5: About Those Interceptions at USC
Ball security is one of the major factors any prospective quarterback needs to control at the pro level.
Sam Darnold’s 22 interceptions the last two years in college are a concern, sure. But one has to factor his offensive line wasn’t particularly great. Outside his No. 1 receiver, Deontay Burnett, Darnold didn’t exactly boast the most prolific receivers in the Pac-12 either.
Darnold takes risks. Those are what helped him develop into one of the top pro-level prospects in the country. But as Gang Green Nation’s Michael Nania pointed out, interception-prone quarterbacks in college don’t necessarily translate to being the same within NFL ranks:
Plenty of successful quarterbacks have been turnover prone in college and went on to have success. Ben Roethlisberger threw 21 interceptions over his last two college seasons. Drew Brees threw 24. Matt Ryan threw 29. Matt Stafford, Kirk Cousins and Eli Manning both had higher college interception rates over their final two seasons than Darnold. The list goes on and on. …
Among qualified starting quarterbacks in 2017, the closest comparisons to Darnold in terms of interception rate over their final two college seasons (within .15%) were Tom Brady, Cam Newton, Carson Palmer, Kirk Cousins, Carson Wentz, Eli Manning, DeShone Kizer, Stafford, and Ryan. All of those players have been legitimate top-ten producers for multiple seasons in their careers except Kizer, and five of them have been to Super Bowls.
Nania also displayed how there’s zero correlation between tossing a lot of picks within the college ranks and doing so again at the pro level.
So for those worried Darnold is forever going to be beset by turning the ball over through the air, don’t.
Next Page: No. 4