Browns hope research on Sam Darnold gives them edge in Thursday night bout vs. Jets

The Browns spent months studying, evaluating and dissecting Sam Darnold, the NFL Draft prospect. 

They hope that research gives them an edge when they face Sam Darnold, the rookie and Jets starting quarterback, when New York comes to town Thursday night. 

"We're going to use every piece of information that we can, you can believe it," coach Hue Jackson said with a smile Tuesday.

"We have an idea of who we're playing — there's no doubt. He's a tough, competitive young man. He's not going to shy away from anything, and he's going to stand there and try to make plays when need be and doesn't get rattled much."

Indeed, Cleveland considered selecting the former USC standout with the first pick in the NFL Draft before tabbing Baker Mayfield as its quarterback of the future. 

The Jets, meanwhile, picked Darnold with the third pick and named him their starter last month after a strong preseason. 

The Browns hosted Darnold, among other top prospects, on a pre-draft visit earlier this year and attended his Pro Day in Los Angeles. Jackson said he and all of this year's top quarterbacks impressed Cleveland in different ways before concluding that the dynamic Mayfield was the best fit for the organization. 

"We did a good job as an organization of really working through all of the guys from top to bottom, to be very honest with you," Jackson said. "We spent time with (Darnold) and his family, and obviously every quarterback. But, we feel very comfortable with the guy that we selected in Baker. I'm sure they do with him. 

"He's a fine prospect and is going to be a fine player. I think they got a good one, but I think that we have a really good one, too."

While the Browns plan to sit Mayfield, the former Heisman Trophy winner and Oklahoma star, New York has thrust Darnold into the spotlight. The 21-year-old has led the Jets to a 1-1 record thus far, completing 66 percent of his passes for 532 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions. Jackson described the youngster as a "talented quarterback" who's played well in his first two NFL games. 

"He's thrown for a lot of yards in two weeks. He's turned the ball over a little bit, like most young guys will. But, he's playing good for them. He's playing within their system. Obviously, they trust him. They are throwing the ball a lot with him," Jackson said.

"He's able to make plays outside of the pocket with his legs. He has some good guys to throw it to. He's making progress, I'm sure, in their system. I'm sure that they feel very comfortable with him being their quarterback. They're 1-1 right now. He has an opportunity to come in here Thursday night and make it a tough night for us."

So far, that hasn't been easy for any quarterback this season. Darnold will face a Browns defense that has forced eight turnovers in two games and, for the most part, kept the Saints' high-powered offense in check this past weekend. 

Cleveland hopes its past scouting reports on Darnold help, too. 

"We'll use all the information that we have to our advantage," Jackson said.

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