"Someone asked me about him the other day, and I was like, yeah, whatever, he's just a guy," Norman said, according to ESPN's John Keim. "Then you go out here and see him making these throws and you're like, all right. That's not so much a college-level throw. He's putting them on the money."
Norman, a six-year veteran who earned 2015 Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors as a member of the Carolina Panthers, wasn't able to take advantage of the 21-year-old Darnold.
"It's like, dang," Norman said. "You get rookies in here, and you try to mess them with a little bit and bait them a little bit into thinking they're throwing a route, and you can make a play and he's not having it. It's so crazy to see that at an early age. Dak (Prescott) has that; Carson (Wentz) has that.
"So it's like, man, they must come in here not wanting to screw it up, and he's so far impressed me and I didn't want him to. I wanted to break all rookies. He's been doing a great job," Norman said.
The 30-year-old Norman signed a five-year, $75-million contract with Washington in 2016 that will carry a cap hit of just under $17 million this season.
Darnold continues to battle against veterans Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater to earn the starting job for Week 1. Regardless of the outcome, Norman thinks the No. 3 pick of April's draft will succeed at the NFL level.
"He has the smarts and wittiness about him, and he'll make the plays when it comes his way. He'll be successful in this league if he keeps doing that," Norman said.