You won't believe this NFL writer's bold prediction for Sam Darnold, 49ers

Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold (14)
Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold (14) / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Adam Schein from went bold with some predictions for 2023, and his one for Sam Darnold and the 49ers is pretty over the top.

Before we go much further, let's clarify the difference between predictions and bold predictions.

Predictions are estimated guesses about future events. If you base a prediction on ample supporting evidence, trends and rationale, that prediction would make sense. So, if you predict the San Francisco 49ers will beat the Pittsburgh Steelers on the road to start off the 2023 regular season, it's perfectly OK. Especially if you cite how the Niners are, pound for pound, a superior team.

Bold predictions, however, take things one step further. Toeing the line between complete fantasy and the furthest stretches of believability, bold predictions have to be bold to be bold (see the word play?).

So, speaking of that Week 1 game between San Francisco and Pittsburgh, a bold prediction might say that quarterback Sam Darnold not only starts for the 49ers but also winds up passing for 400 yards and four touchdowns with zero interceptions despite a still-good Steelers defense.

Got it? Good.

Speaking of Darnold, he's certainly in the mix to start for the Niners at the beginning of 2023. Presumably, at least according to comments made by general manager John Lynch, Brock Purdy is going to be San Francisco's starter moving forward.

But Purdy is injured, still recovering from surgery to repair a torn UCL suffered in the NFC Championship game last season. There's a chance the second-year pro might not be ready by the regular season.

Darnold is also competing with Trey Lance, the 49ers' top pick from the 2021 NFL Draft who is also coming off a serious injury and has just four regular-season starts to his name.

Needless to say, it's a juicy quarterback competition for the Niners right now.

And that has led to one columnist to come up with a bold prediction that you probably won't quite believe.

Adam Schein of predicts Sam Darnold leads 49ers to Super Bowl win over Aaron Rodgers, Jets

Adam Schein has some pretty hot takes if you take a minute and look, and one of his more recent ones about the Niners involved yet another trade attempt for Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins.

Gee, it'd be nice if chatter of that never-ending rumor would die already.

Anyway, writing for, Schein came up with some awfully bold predictions for the upcoming 2023 season. And the part that involves San Francisco?

Well, he has Sam Darnold leading the 49ers all the way to the Super Bowl, then beating quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the New York Jets.

Not kidding. And here's what Schein had to say about it:

"The 49ers are the best roster in the NFL, 2-53. They just need to find that No. 1. Who's poised to man the game's most important position for San Francisco? Well, Brock Purdy is currently recovering from major elbow surgery, while Trey Lance is still struggling with the forward pass. So, in the moment, that leaves Sam Darnold as The Guy. And I see that as a golden opportunity."

Remember the part about making bold predictions somewhat believable? Many an analyst would agree with the first sentence. And if they don't, at least the Niners are close.

Schein continued:

"I've always loved Darnold's raw talent. But he was dealt a raw hand in New York and Carolina. Just ask Le'Veon Bell about Adam Gase's development -- or lack thereof -- of the former No. 3 overall pick. I always wanted to see what Darnold could do with better support. Now he's under the watchful eye of offensive genius Kyle Shanahan, flanked by immense talent on both sides of the ball."

Read more: Is Sam Darnold still a bust, or did he just need the right situation?

Also true and reasonable about Darnold. The 2018 No. 3 overall pick had the early part of his career virtually destroyed by the Jets' previous regime and associated dysfunction.

Now, Darnold is operating within the best context possible. And the Jets are in a significantly better situation with Rodgers coming from the Green Bay Packers earlier this offseason.

It's still very much a bold prediction, but at least Schein made reasonable attempts to squeeze out whatever believability there might have been.

Still, if Darnold helps a Super Bowl-winning San Francisco squad this year instead of Lance or Purdy doing so, it'd be something else (multiplied by a thousand).

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