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Sam Darnold defends his decision to pass on passing at NFL Combine

Sam Darnold of the USC Trojans looks to

Sam Darnold of the USC Trojans looks to throw against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the first half of the Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium on Dec. 29, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. Credit: Getty Images / Ron Jenkins

INDIANAPOLIS — Sam Darnold had the best seat in the house.

The USC quarterback was on the field for position drills on Saturday but remained true to his decision to skip any passing activity. He was simply a spectator and a cheerleader as Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson and others took their reps on the turf at Lucas Oil Stadium.

“It was hard,” Darnold told Newsday of his inactivity while speaking later in the day at a Gatorade event to play the virtual reality game “Beat the Blitz.”

“It was hard not to be able to throw with them. The competitor in me wanted to throw, obviously, but I went with a gut feeling and decided not to throw.”

NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock was hard on Darnold, however, for the decision to skip the spins.

“I was a little disappointed Darnold didn’t throw,” Mayock said. “I think you get a chance to show off a little bit and this is all about competition. I wonder in his heart of hearts if he missed competing today because the other guys went out and ripped it pretty good.”

Darnold said he had no regrets.

“Every decision I make I feel like I made the right decision, whether it works out or it doesn’t,” Darnold said. “But I thought today worked out perfectly. I thought I performed OK at the Combine, I thought I could have done a little bit better, but I thought I performed to the best of my ability [in other drills].”

Darnold said he takes the same approach to his decision-making on the field.

“One hundred percent,” he said. “Obviously you learn from decisions on the field and off the field. Whether the decision not to throw here was the right decision or not, I believe it was the right decision. I think I’ll continue to learn from the choices I make, whether it’s in life or in football.”

Darnold is one of the players the Giants may be eyeing with the No. 2 overall pick in April. He certainly is one of the top quarterbacks in the draft class, probably the one with the fewest question marks surrounding him.

If he does go to the Giants, chances are he’ll have to sit and wait behind Eli Manning.

So maybe by not throwing, he was actually showing the Giants exactly what he’ll give them every Sunday next season.

New York Sports