The 2018 NFL Draft features a deep group of talented quarterbacks, several of which project as multi-year NFL starters. With at least four quarterbacks expecting to be selected in the first round, let’s take a closer look at their potential fantasy football impact. We will start with USC sophomore, Sam Darnold. Still just 20-years-old, Darnold projects as the safest of all the quarterback prospects, with strong potential as a long-term NFL starter.
Best Fantasy Football Landing Spots for Sam Darnold
Best Fit: Cleveland Browns
It is impossible to get a safer spot for Darnold than the first overall pick. If the Cleveland Browns indeed select him first overall, dynasty fantasy owners should be thrilled. He will have a year to learn behind veteran Tyrod Taylor, and have a bevy of offensive weapons when he eventually inherits the starting job. Darnold is praised for his accuracy, strong arm, and natural instincts in the pocket.
— The MMQB (@theMMQB) April 4, 2018
The Browns would be the ideal landing spot for Darnold for many reasons. He would have a clear path to ascend to the starting role, would be on a team with low initial win expectations, and have a fantastic supporting offensive cast. His receiving corps of Josh Gordon, Corey Coleman, and Jarvis Landry all provide reliable targets on all three levels of the field. Darnold would have one of the NFL’s most athletic tight ends in second-year player David Njoku, a top satellite back safety valve in Duke Johnson, and a solid between the tackles lead running back in Carlos Hyde.
Most targeted #NFL RBs last 3 years:
1. Duke Johnson (241)
2. Theo Riddick (237)
3. Le'Veon Bell (226)
4. James White (212)
5. Devonta Freeman (209)
6. Mark Ingram (189)
7. LeSean McCoy (185)
8. TIE: David Johnson/Giovani Bernard/Melvin Gordon (177)
— Mike Randle (@RandleRant) March 28, 2018
Cleveland checks all the boxes as the top landing spot for Darnold to facilitate a long NFL career.
Good Fit: New York Giants
Learning behind four-time All-Pro New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning would be ideal for any 20-year-old rookie. If the uncertainty surrounding wide receiver Odell Beckham quiets down, this fit becomes even better. Succeeding under the bright lights of New York is never easy, but it provides Darnold the opportunity to become a legend. Could the California born quarterback handle the intense scrutiny that comes with being the Giants signal caller? It appears the Giants front office feels confident he can.
Asked a handful of NFL scouts and execs who the #Giants draft if Josh Allen goes first overall.
Every one replied Sam Darnold.
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) April 2, 2018
The main drawback to landing with the Giants is the divisional competition. The Philadelphia Eagles are the defending Super Bowl champions with a young superstar quarterback in Carson Wentz. Dallas has a franchise quarterback in Dak Prescott and a superstar running back in Ezekiel Elliott. With a Giants offense that finished 26th in rushing yards per game, Darnold would have to navigate a less than balanced offensive attack.
New head coach Pat Shurmur brings a great offensive mind and a wealth of experience as an offensive coordinator for four NFL teams over his career. With a two-time Super Bowl Champion serving as a mentor, Sam Darnold would have an opportunity very few rookie quarterbacks ever get to experience. There are some questions about this fit, but dynasty owners would certainly be pleased if Darnold goes to a big market franchise that has a need to win every season.
Worst Fit: New York Jets
What a difference a locker room makes when it comes to Darnold’s landing spot. The path to the starting role for the New York Jets would be easier in some respects, but that doesn’t make this the ideal landing spot. With both Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater under contract, Darnold could potentially start the year as the third quarterback. More importantly, suppose the 25-year-old Bridgewater plays well? Being the clear successor to Manning is a much better progression than joining the Jets.
The weapons are also less defined. The receiving corps is a collection of potentially good, but not great, wideouts. The running game has potential, but both Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell aren’t top-level running backs. Getting selected in the top three is certainly fine, but when compared to the Browns and Giants this spot comes up a distant third. Darnold won’t fall past the third overall pick, and the Jets represent his worst fit of the top three picks by far.
Sam Darnold represents the safest quarterback pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. He has an accurate and strong arm with the footwork to improvise in the pocket. He is a lock as a top three pick but his landing spot becomes worse as each pick passes. Darnold is clearly hoping his name is called first by the Browns. That would represent the best financial fit and perfect offensive scheme landing spot.