Matt Leinart on Sam Darnold: 'I Don't Know If You Wanna Go to the Browns'

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJanuary 2, 2018

Southern California quarterback Sam Darnold (14) passes against Stanford during the second half of the Pac-12 Conference championship NCAA college football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Friday, Dec. 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Former USC quarterback Matt Leinart questioned on Monday if landing with the Cleveland Browns would be best for current USC signal-caller Sam Darnold's NFL career. 

When asked about the situation by TMZ Sports, Leinart said, "I don't know if you wanna go to the Browns!"

After going 0-16, the Browns hold the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft, and conventional wisdom suggests they will use it to take a franchise quarterback.

If Darnold declares for the draft, he figures to be in that mix along with UCLA's Josh Rosen, Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield, Louisville's Lamar Jackson and Wyoming's Josh Allen.

When asked about his NFL prospects, Darnold said he would be "honored to play for any team," per Scott Gleeson of USA Today.

After throwing for 31 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 2016, Darnold's numbers dipped in 2017 to the tune of 4,143 yards, 26 touchdowns and 13 picks.

Darnold struggled in a 24-7 Cotton Bowl loss to Ohio State, but Leinart isn't worried about what any of that means for his NFL future: "I don't think he played as bad as people think. ... He'll be all right. We'll see what he does. He may come back to school; who knows?"

Leinart won the 2004 Heisman Trophy as a USC junior, but his NFL career left plenty to be desired.

After getting selected by the Arizona Cardinals with the No. 10 overall pick in the 2006 NFL draft, Leinart went on to go 8-10 as an NFL starter, throwing for 15 touchdowns and 21 interceptions.

The Browns have won just one game over the past two seasons, and they have the NFL's longest playoff drought, having last made the postseason in 2002.

Hitting a home run with their quarterback selection in the 2018 draft could go a long way toward reversing those fortunes, but the Browns will be starting from the bottom next season.

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