NFL: New York Jets’ QB Sam Darnold Will Play In...
By Brandon Ray
Special to Pro Football Guru
In terms of potential, the 2018 NFL draft had arguably the best quarterback class in many years. In recent years, there has usually been a discussion over two or even three signal-callers and what order they would be selected. This past April, there were five quarterbacks (Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield and possibly Lamar Jackson) who were in the mix in terms of being first-round selections. Teams looking to fill the position could get a potential franchise guy. And when it was all said and done, there were indeed five quarterbacks chosen in the first 32 selections – including an unprecedented four going within the first 10 picks.
For a quarterback to come into the league as a rookie and become the team’s starter is very difficult. Still, we have certainly seen our share of rookie starters behind center. While this Class of 2018 has talent in different areas of their game, none of them stand out as a Week 1 starter. Of course, that doesn’t mean they won’t claim the starting job, but there are certainly no guarantees.
Earlier this week, we looked at what to expect from the Cleveland Browns and Baker Mayfield. So here is the second of five looks at the young men who were taken in the first round in April and when to expect them to hit the field:
Sam Darnold, New York Jets
For many weeks leading up to the draft, Sam Darnold was the almost-certain number one pick to the Cleveland Browns. That was up until the week of the draft when there were debates about whether it could be Darnold or Wyoming’s Josh Allen. When draft day arriving, it was suddenly all about Baker Mayfield being the guy going to the Browns.
Let’s not forget that the New York Jets traded up three spots from the number six slot, sending the Indianapolis Colts a lot of picks just to move up. With the Browns taking Mayfield and the New York Giants establishing their running game with Saquon Barkley, the Jets seized the opportunity to claim Darnold. A move that seemed impossible weeks prior to the draft. Darnold seems to be the most promising USC quarterback coming into the league since Carson Palmer (2003).
With Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater, Darnold is clearly going to be their franchise guy. McCown may have a season or two left and Bridgewater at this point in his career is a number-two due to his horrific leg injury earlier in his career. McCown has the leadership and surprised the NFL last year with a Jets’ team that some predicted to go 0-16. Instead, the team got off to a 3-2 start and finished 5-11, which included a victory over the eventual AFC South champion Jacksonville Jaguars.
If the Jets start to go south this season, Darnold comes into play to give the fans a taste of the organization's future.
Prediction: Darnold plays by Week 12