When Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN’s longtime NFL draft expert, published his first 2018 mock draft, he pegged Sam Darnold as the top selection. It included one footnote about the USC quarterback. “He does have an unorthodox, long delivery, however, that will have to be retooled,” Kiper wrote. Analysts over the past year have remarked on the loopy motion Darnold makes when he throws a pass, akin to a baseball player playing long-toss by grabbing the ball out of his mitt and dropping his arm back to start a windy circular movement. Darnold presented his own baseball analogy after a recent workout. As if he were an infielder prepared to scoop up a grounder, Darnold crouched for a second. He slightly dropped his left arm, ready to simulate the transfer of the ball between his mitt and his right hand. He brought his arm back and mimicked a quick throw to first base. “It’s just kind of natural for me,” Darnold said. Through his freshman year at San Clemente High, Darnold was a baseball player. He was predominantly in the lineup as an outfielder for the Tritons, but had also played third base, catcher and pitcher. Darnold said his windup was akin to NFL quarterback Jameis Winston, who was also a pitcher and outfielder at Florida State. Winston retooled a similarly elongated throwing motion after he was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2015.