One criticism of USC quarterback Sam Darnold, beyond too many turnovers, has been his delivery.
Darnold's motion has been described as "slightly elongated" by NFLDraftScout.com senior analyst Rob Rang, and some have wondered how that longer windup would play in the NFL. Since Darnold didn't throw at the NFL Scouting Combine last month, scouts got their first look at what Darnold has been working on with private quarterbacks coach Jordan Palmer at USC's Pro Day on Wednesday.
"There's some subtle things that you're not going to see on the highlights from yesterday," Palmer said Thursday on the Dan Patrick Show.
"I'm not a believer in that there is one way to throw it. I think there is a most efficient way for each person to throw it, and Sam has a couple of things that are unique in terms of what people call a loop or whatever in terms of the ball coming down a little bit. At the same time, he's pretty much quicker than everybody else. The ball gets out of hand really, really quick.
"What I tried to do is change some of his posture, which may sound really subtle, but he was pretty hunched over. But he stands really tall now, and what you end up doing is recruiting your chest muscles. When you go to throw, you're not just throwing with all arm. You get to recruit the whole front side of your body.
"And what that does is, one, you're going to get more energy on the ball but, two, you're going to take a lot of stress off your biceps tendon, your triceps tendon, those type of things. Even if these kids don't have an elbow or shoulder injury from throwing, I really want to get with them early on and take that pressure and put it across as many muscles as we can, not just on their elbow or throw shoulder."
Darnold looked just fine throwing in the rain Wednesday, doing nothing to hurt his status as a potential pick for the Cleveland Browns at No. 1.
These Pro Day workouts aren't exactly real football, though, and even Palmer, a former NFL quarterback, admitted the events can be overly emphasized.
"I actually think it's one of the least relevant portions of the process. The relevant part of it is that it is a really big day," Palmer said.
"It is just a really pressure-filled day. And if I was an evaluator, I just want to see how they handle the entire process, the whole day. A lot of quarterbacks, they're really talented, but you write down your list of busts, usually it's not talent. Usually, it's that the lights are too bright for them."