With a star-studded offense, the 49ers are overflowing with potential heading into the 2023 season, even if there is no indication as to who will be QB1. However, that has not deterred Darnold, who, after being asked why he chose to bring his talents to the Bay Area, fawned over the plethora of talent on the 49ers roster.
"Guys are open, I mean, there's a lot of guys open on dang near every play," Darnold said on the Pardon My Take podcast. "It just seems like there's a ton of answers. Great run game. I mean, whenever you can have a great run game as a quarterback, that's always a comforting feeling. I think just with the certain weapons that they have, you know, Deebo (Samuel), (Brandon) Aiyuk, George (Kittle), obviously Christian (McCaffrey), Juice (Kyle Juszczyk), Jauan Jennings, like there's so many guys you can go on and on."
Having that many toys to play with on offense would make any quarterback rub his hands with glee, but Darnold quickly followed up his comments by crediting head coach Kyle Shanahan's skill in managing such a potent offense.
"But they've been there for so long, and Kyle's been able to understand kind of what everyone does well, what they don't do well, and I feel like every game plan he uses gets the most out of his guys," Darnold said. "That's a very good feeling as a quarterback, knowing that the [coach] is going to put everyone in the best position possible."
During his 2022 campaign with the Carolina Panthers, Darnold took advantage of the limited playing time given to him. The 26-year-old racked up 1,143 passing yards with seven touchdowns and only three interceptions throughout six total games. The Panthers went 4-2 with Darnold starting, demonstrating that he can be a reliable passer and scorer when given the opportunity.
In his three seasons with the New York Jets and two in Carolina, Darnold never played on a winning team. By contrast, the 49ers have won at least 10 games in three of the past four seasons and made it to a Super Bowl and two NFC Championship games in that same time span.
It's not hard to see why Darnold chose to come back to California at the first opportunity. And despite the 49ers still employing breakout sensation Brock Purdy and former No. 3 overall pick Trey Lance, Darnold is confident he can distinguish himself on this championship-caliber roster. Now the former USC star will try and prove to his new teammates and coach that he is the right choice to lead this juggernaut roster to the promised land.