Sam Darnold denies he'd stay at USC to avoid Browns

Rosen ready for NFL, Darnold has tough decision (2:07)

Mel Kiper explains how ready Josh Rosen is for the NFL and that Sam Darnold's recent success is making it harder for him to pass on the draft. (2:07)

Sam Darnold denied a rumor that he might stay at USC for his junior season if the Cleveland Browns end up with the first pick in the 2018 NFL draft.

"I didn't say anything about the Browns," Darnold told reporters after the Trojans' practice Monday. "I've never said anything bad about [an NFL] team. They know I would never say anything."

Darnold would be one of the top quarterbacks available in the 2018 draft and has been widely projected as a high-first-round draft pick.

His draft availability has been the topic of speculation since earlier this month, when the MMQB's Albert Breer said during a radio interview that Darnold would wait to see whether the Browns had the No. 1 pick before deciding whether to enter the draft.

Darnold, a redshirt sophomore, has passed for 3,462 yards and 24 touchdowns with 12 interceptions this season for the Trojans (10-2), who will play Stanford in the Pac-12 championship game Friday.

The 6-foot-4 Darnold was rated as the fifth-best overall prospect earlier this month on ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper's latest Big Board.