Nania’s Darnold Grades

Sam Darnold Grades

Nania’s Darnold Grades are broken down on a weekly basis (membership required).

Explaining the Darnold Grades

Following the conclusion of the 2019 season, I sat back and wondered to myself, “What has been the best game of Sam Darnold’s career to date?” I started off by nonchalantly scoring each game on a scale of 0-10 off the top of my head. And then it hit me. What if I scored every single play of Darnold’s career on a scale of 0-10?

So that’s what I did. Digging through the All-22 film, I went back and graded every play (pass attempt, sack, rushing attempt) from every one of Darnold’s games, scoring each on a scale of 0-10 (5 as average).

Anything and everything was taken into account. Ball placement. Location. Accuracy. Should-be turnovers. Unlucky turnovers. Protection. Play-calling effectiveness. Impact of the route-running and ball tracking quality by the intended receiver. Down and distance. Field position. Game situation. And every layer of decision-making: Did Darnold choose the best available option? Did he take an over-aggressive shot when a first down was available underneath? Did he check down too early and leave a potential big play on the field? Should he have run? Should he have been able to avoid that sack? Should he have thrown the ball away?

Simple statistics do not account for any of those factors. With so many variables being analyzed on every play, essential context is sprinkled in, producing a grade that is much more representative of the quarterback’s true performance than anything else out there.

Darnold’s final scores were scaled from 0-to-100, with 50 representing the approximate league average (based on the analysis of other quarterbacks in 2019).

Breakdowns of every Sam Darnold performance in 2019 can be found at the links above, featuring my overall grade for each game. You will also see:

  • Comparisons between my grade, Darnold’s advanced metrics, and his traditional statistics.
  • Metrics showcasing how well the team supported Darnold (pressure, drops, run game, etc.).
  • Clips of Darnold’s best and worst moments from each game.
  • A synopsis of Darnold’s performance explaining how I arrived to the grade.