John Elway expected to watch Sam Darnold at USC-Ohio State

SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 01: Sam Darnold /

John Elway made his way to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, and is expected to go to Arlington to see Sam Darnold in the Cotton Bowl…

There’s been a ton of speculation all season about whether or not Sam Darnold, the star quarterback at USC, will declare for the 2018 NFL Draft. John Elway’s presence at the Cotton Bowl would seem to indicate that, at least as far as NFL personnel are concerned, he’s not made that decision one way or another.

Elway recently attended the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl to scout Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen in person, and according to a report around the time of that game, he’s expected to be in attendance at the Cotton Bowl as well.

Here are multiple reports confirming that:

Elway stated this week that what he’s looking at during these bowl games is not necessarily just on-field performance, but how players respond to situations, how they handle themselves on the sidelines.

In other words, Elway and Matt Russell are already on to the personal evaluations for these young signal callers, meaning they are almost definitely going to be picking one of them in the draft.

What are the Broncos going to see with Sam Darnold?

This player has been one of my favorites to watch this season, because of the progression he showed from one half of the season to the next.

Darnold has been a bit reckless with the football at times, but he’s just a redshirt sophomore and is already showing incredible ability to move in and out of the pocket, make throws on the run, and show up big in clutch situations.

This is a young player that goes through his progressions as a quarterback, and has the arm to make throws to every level of the field with zip, accuracy, and touch when he needs it.

Darnold is also a very good athlete, better than he’s given credit for, and can make plays with his legs.

He’s drawn some comparisons to current NFL quarterbacks, but the one that keeps coming to me when I watch him play well and struggle every now and again is Jameis Winston.

Winston, coming out of Florida State, was a player that could make the ‘wow’ types of throws but would also leave you with your face in the palm of your hand as he made head-scratching decisions with the football.

Many of those interceptions, I discovered, were due to Darnold trying to do too much all at once. He’s a playmaker, and because of that, he tends to lose patience at times.

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That patience will come as he continues to develop, but I love the killer instinct and his willingness to sacrifice statistics if it means he will put his team in the winner’s circle.

Darnold also has the intangible qualities NFL teams covet in a quarterback. This is a player who, even at a young age and with millions of dollars being thrown in his face, is going to be making a very calculated decision of whether or not he wants to leave school early.

Playing at USC is an honor for Darnold, and he’s not going to easily give that up.

I really respect this guy’s approach to the game, and I love his potential at the next level. His overall skill set, physical makeup, arm talent, and intangibles are why I have him as my top ranked quarterback in this year’s draft, just ahead of Baker Mayfield, whom I believe to be a top prospect at the position as well.

Elway, I think, will see a lot of himself in Darnold as a competitor, and that could really endear him to this young prospect.

The Broncos would probably love to be able to get Darnold in the draft, but they might have to trade up to do so.