Is Sam Darnold eligible for the 2017 NFL Draft?

Sam Darnold has been a revelation for the USC Trojans, but is he eligible for the 2017 NFL Draft

It’s no coincidence that the USC Trojans saw their 2016 season turn around whenever they made the switch to Sam Darnold at quarterback. In his first action under center and in charge of the offense, Darnold was absolutely phenomenal. Losing only one game as the starter, he took USC to the 2017 Rose Bowl. There, he delivered a masterful five-touchdown performance. Now everyone is talking about him being a potential No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft.

Looking ahead to April’s 2017 NFL Draft, much of the talk—as per usual—has been about the quarterbacks. In contrast to recent years, the talk now has been about the lack of quality of the quarterback class. Even the best prospects expected to enter the 2017 NFL Draft at the position aren’t thought of as Day 1 starters. However, Sam Darnold looks like he could be that and more.

So for USC fans and fans of NFL teams in need of a quarterback, Darnold entering the NFL Draft can’t come soon enough. But before that, there’s a bigger question—is he even eligible for the 2017 NFL Draft?

Unfortunately, not so much. As a redshirt freshman—one of the reasons his performance this season has been so impressive—he’s only been at USC for two years. Not to insult anyone’s intelligence, but that’s short of the required three years for draft eligibility. Instead, Darnold will be eligible after next season for the 2018 NFL Draft.

Though he still has some things to prove, it wouldn’t be a shock if the USC quarterback does indeed wind up being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. He has all of the tools and, of course, it doesn’t hurt that he’s coming out of USC.

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