Sam Darnold ‘most talented pitcher’ in 49ers history


May 5, 2023 | 1:41 p.m.

Some would consider this to be freezing cold.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Sam Darnold must impress during offseason practices so far as a reporter thinks the former Jets first-round pick could be the most talented pitcher in history of the team.

“Sam Darnold might be — may I say this — the most talented pitcher in football the 49ers have ever had,” NBC Sports San Francisco reporter Matt Maiocco said during a Thursday appearance on “Murph & Mac. Podcast” by KNBR.

“Let’s just put him in the very high echelon of guys who can just drop back into the pocket and throw the football.

“I think he hasn’t really had a chance to succeed since he finished university. I think he’s had four head coaches in five years, five offensive coordinators in five years. He’s a talented guy.

Darnold has yet to play a game for San Fran, where quarterback and Hall of Famers legends Joe Montana and Steve Young have won five combined Super Bowl titles.

The 25-year-old signed a one-year contract with the 49ers in March.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold kicks the ball during the second quarter against the New Orleans Saints at Caesars Superdome on January 8, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
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Darnold — who spent three seasons with the Jets after the team selected him with the third pick in the 2018 draft — then spent two seasons with Carolina.

Darnold’s one-year, $4.5 million contract with the 49ers could reach $11.5 million if the quarterback meets incentives for playing time and individual and team performance.

In 2022 with the Panthers, Darnold started six games and completed 82 of 140 pass attempts (58.6%) for 1,143 yards, seven touchdowns and a 92.6 passer rating to go with 26 carries for 106 yards and two affected.

Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold leaves the field after defeating the Detroit Lions at Bank of America Stadium on December 24, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
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In the 2021 season, which marked the last time Darnold was a team’s primary starter, he ranked 30th of 33 quarterbacks in completion percentage at 59.9%, according to team rankings. .

In his five seasons with the Jets and Panthers, Darnold went 21-34 combined in his starts.

Darnold is currently in a quarterback battle with Trey Lance and Brock Purdy for the starting spot in 2023, although you would have considered Darnold the long shot among those three.

Lance, named the starter at the start of 2022, is back from a broken ankle he suffered in Week 2, which ended his season and required two surgeries.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold struggles to gain ground against the Detroit Lions during their game at Bank of America Stadium on December 24, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
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He is set to return for the team’s OTAs, which begin for most clubs on May 22.

Purdy is believed to be the favorite to land the starting job after a successful rookie campaign when he replaced the injured Jimmy Garoppolo, who replaced Lance at the end of the season.

The seventh-round pick is recovering from surgery on his right elbow for a torn ulnar collateral ligament he suffered in an NFC Championship Game loss to the Eagles.

Darnold seems to be adjusting well to his new team.

Sam Darnold, Christian McCaffrey and George Kittle sit courtside during the 2023 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals between the Lakers and Warriors on May 4, 2023 at Chase Center in San Francisco, California.
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The San Clemente, Calif., native was all smiles with teammates running back Christian McCaffrey and tight end George Kittle during Game 2 of the NBA Western Conference Semifinals at Chase Center, where the Warriors beat the Lakers 127-100 on Thursday night.

The NFL players were seen shaking hands and talking with Warriors star Klay Thompson after the game.

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