Haslam was one member of a large contingent present to evaluate the quarterback the Browns are pondering taking with the first overall pick in the NFL draft. In an unusual twist, Darnold chose to keep throwing after heavy rain started a few minutes into his workout. He received generally favorable reviews from analysts for his footwork, arm strength and accuracy.
Browns in attendance for the workout included Haslam, general manager John Dorsey, coach Hue Jackson, offensive coordinator Todd Haley and quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese. Haslam sat with Darnold’s parents during part of the workout. On Tuesday night, the Browns took Darnold out to dinner. Haslam was present not to scout Darnold but more to get to know him with the rest of the Browns staff.
“He’s a great guy,” Darnold said of Haslam on the NFL Network. “That whole staff is awesome. I was able to meet with the Giants as well [on Monday]. Just meeting with both of those organizations, like I said before, those people are at the top of the world right now, and I’m trying to impress them but at the same time be myself. So there is a fine line between that, and I just tried to find that and do my best.”
Part of the reason the Browns sent such a large contingent to Los Angeles is because Darnold did not throw at the scouting combine. Darnold, who will turn 21 in June, chose not to go inside when it started raining, in part because he wanted to show that he could handle the elements and because he did not think it was fair to his USC teammates to move the time of the workout. Another factor is that USC’s indoor facility is not large enough for deep passes, ESPN’s Keyshawn Johnson said during the workout.
Although there were several dropped passes, Darnold was praised for his accuracy and mobility. He also focused on showing that he has worked on holding onto the ball with two hands (he had 21 fumbles in two seasons at USC). He did not seem to do anything to hurt his draft standing and might even have improved his cause.
“Just being aware of all those little things and then just coming out here and ripping it,” Darnold said. “I thought I did a pretty good job.”
Darnold said during an interview with ESPN that he’s eager to go to a team that wants him. He is well aware that the Browns traded for Tyrod Taylor to be the team’s starting quarterback.
“It'd be awesome to go No. 1, just because I think what the Browns are doing is really good right now, and I think they have potential to be a really good team in the future," Darnold said. "Just based on that, yeah, a part of me really wants to go 1. But at the same time, if they don't want me and they don't pick me, that's the best situation. Because I don't want to go to a team that doesn't want me."
This is a busy time for quarterback pre-draft workouts. Josh Rosen had his workout at UCLA on Tuesday. The Browns will visit and work out Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield on Thursday. On Friday, it’s on to Wyoming, where Josh Allen will have his pro day. Allen is also viewed as a possibility for the Browns at No. 1.