Shortly before the NFL kicked off its 2018 season, Tony Romo predicted Sam Darnold would someday become one of the top quarterbacks in the league.
Now halfway through Darnold's rookie campaign with the Jets, the Cowboys QB-turned-CBS analyst says his forecast is about to shift towards reality.
"Some guys come in and have better stats or have better seasons in their rookie year, but Sam is going to be outstanding," Romo said this week, per the Jets' website. "I still think that his ceiling is very, very high, and I think you're going to see a monster leap even as the end of the season comes in, but really when next year starts.
"That second year for players that I think are going to be at the level that I think he'll be at one day, they make a big, big leap," he added. "The game will get very slow for him through OTAs and training camps. I think he should just enjoy it right now, the ups and downs and him learning every play. You'll see him take off pretty soon here."
Darnold has impressed through the first eight weeks of the year despite a slew of injuries to Jets wide receivers and running backs. He's completed 55.2 percent of his passes and leads all rookie QBs with 1,705 passing yards and 11 touchdowns with 10 interceptions.
Romo indicated the Jets made the right move trading up in this year's NFL draft to pick the 21-year-old No. 3 overall.
"He has what I call almost a spatial awareness, it's an innate feel," Romo said. "The really, really great ones get through progressions really quickly. ... That's a rare trait and when you have it, that franchise is going to be OK."
As for continuing Darnold's development, Romo said the youngster simply needs to keep reviewing film and analyzing his game.
"The key for him will be nothing more than learning football," he said. "Studying after the game as much as before. And your ability to go back and think about why you did that, why your brain thought this, why in that moment you decided to do this, and then always evaluate what you're thinking, because you'll eventually be teaching yourself how to think as much as where to go with the football."
Darnold hopes to continue to follow Romo's schedule of greatness in Miami Sunday against the Dolphins.