USC quarterback Sam Darnold entered the 2017 college football season as something of a consensus No. 1 prospect when it comes to the 2018 NFL Draft. While both Darnold and the Trojans have underperformed when compared to preseason expectations, there remains a belief that he could be the top player selected when the draft arrives and that puts forth an interesting decision for a player with collegiate eligibility remaining.
While reports have already indicated that Darnold isn’t a full-blown sure thing to declare for the 2018 draft, word broke from Albert Breer of The MMQB on Wednesday that there is a defined factor in the decision. In short, that factor is which team actually “wins” the ability to select at the very top of the draft order.
The inclusion of the Browns and presumed wariness about arriving in Cleveland does make some sense but this won’t necessarily go over well. Famously, Eli Manning engineered his way out of San Diego in favor of New York at the top of the draft but not declaring for the draft because of the team picking first is another level.
Of course, it has to be noted that this is simply one report and, frankly, Darnold may not be the first pick anyway. Still, it is food for thought and another reminder that even players don’t want to land in Cleveland with the way things are going right now.