Sam Darnold shines at USC pro day (Video)

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 21: Sam Darnold
SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 21: Sam Darnold /

USC quarterback Sam Darnold could be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft and he threw in front of a host of NFL execs, coaches, and scouts at his pro day on a rain-soaked Wednesday. 

It never rains in L.A., which may have made for an ominous metaphor as potential No. 1 pick Sam Darnold showed off his live arm for NFL scouts and executive during his pro day Wednesday.

Decision makers for the Cleveland Browns, New York Giants, New York Jets, Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills and Denver Broncos were among the quarterback-needy teams with heavy hitters in attendance, including the entire Cleveland brain trust from owner to coach.

The rain didn’t seem to bother Darnold, the 6-foot-3, 221-pound Trojan, as he launched deep balls and displayed his excellent arm strength.

If he’s going to play in Cleveland, Darnold has to be able to play through wet and cold conditions. Though it wasn’t a snowstorm in Southern California (like it was on the East Coast), he more than acquitted himself throwing in adverse conditions.

Pat McManamon, a Browns writer for ESPN, tweeted after the exhibition he believed Darnold would be the No. 1 pick for new general manager John Dorsey, who was in attendance Wednesday. And maybe we shouldn’t be surprised, when it turns out the Cleveland owner is making nice with Darnold’s parents.

Next: Best NFL player from each state

Darnold is far from a perfect prospect, but he has a live arm, the kind of poise and leadership teams covet in the NFL, and has a knack for coming up big in moments when his team needs him the most. The mechanics aren’t perfect and he’ll take some risks, but Darnold is still a young player who won’t have to start Day 1 with Tyrod Taylor now with the Browns.

We’re moving closer to being able to say the Giants are on the clock, as all signs point to the SC signal caller winding up in Ohio.