Sam Darnold didn’t have to wait long to hear his name called on Thursday night during the 2018 NFL Draft.
After the Cleveland Browns selected Heisman winner Baker Mayfield, it was Saquon Barkley the sensational running back to the New York Giants at No. 2, then USC’s beloved Rose Bowl winning quarterback at No. 3.
Welcome to the Big , Sam Darnold!— New York Jets (@nyjets) April 27, 2018
Unlike the situation with the Giants’ if they had taken a quarterback, Darnold does not face any solid incumbent to the starting position. He has the chance to go in and win the job right out the gate.
We all know his stats by now, if you need a quick refresher look no further than his scouting report.
Currently the Jets have four quarterbacks on roster, Josh McCown, Teddy Bridgewater, Christian Hackenberg, and Bryce Petty.
Which is exactly why it is possible that fans may see Darnold in game one on August 10.
Though McCown may have started for the Jets last season and had career highs in completions, passing yards and touchdowns, he will be no match for Darnold’s pure athletic ability.
Teddy Bridgewater has yet to play a snap for the Jets since being traded from the Minnesota Vikings, and I predict he will be Darnold’s main competition for the starting position.
Bridgewater lead the Vikings to 7-9 and 11-5 in 2014 and 2015. An ACL injury is what sidelined an on-fire Bridgewater from a projected winning season in 2016.
As for Hackenberg and Petty, Darnold could outplay them with his eyes closed.
None of the quarterbacks the Jets have had have had the it factor. Sure McCown had the best season of his pro career but when you think of him do you think NFL star?
If they Jets want to win they can’t settle for average. Average is what made them draft Darnold. They want to distance themselves from anything less than sensational.
The former Trojan has all the qualities a player needs to make it in the NFL. Skill, instinct, work ethic, and character.
Out of all the quarterbacks in this draft Darnold had the most level head. There has yet to be a controversial story about him, there are no snide remarks, no chips on his shoulder. He has quiet confidence and a grace about him.
It’s one of the reasons he was able to win over his USC teammates when he was named the starter over the benched upperclassman Max Browne.
Darnold isn’t loud or brash, he let’s his win record do the talking and leads with steady example.
His instinct in the pocket and ability to evade pressure will only help him succeed in the AFC where he will face pass rushers such as Cleveland’s Myles Garrett and Jacksonville’s Calais Campbell, who combined last season for a total of 26.5 sacks.
Darnold is fearless he will make any throw whether it’s an easy dump off or a deep ball into double coverage.
It will get him into trouble but it will also get him into the end zone for six.
Coaches can work on fixing turnovers. What coaches can’t fix is lack of work ethic, or will to win.
Darnold has owned his turnover problem in the media, and has worked on improving hip movement and left hand placement to negate them.
He’s been in the film room watching every turnover, mentally noting what not to do once he reaches an NFL field.
Darnold is a winner, and he will do everything to take or keep the lead until the clock hits 0:00. Sometimes he tries to do too much, but it’s better to do that than nothing at all.
He can make all the “NFL” throws, even ones you’ve never heard off or believed you would see.
Sam Darnold:— Steve Palazzolo (@PFF_Steve) February 21, 2018
Excellent feel in the middle of the field. Throws receivers open and knows how to throw away from leverage of defenders.
This game-tying pass vs. Penn State in 2017 Rose Bowl was incredible. pic.twitter.com/MLfl9KOKm4
He can beat you with his legs too, whether it’s throwing on the run or running into the end zone.
Sam Darnold evades pressure, rolls out, throws a dime on the run. pic.twitter.com/ClkhaG6rra— Justin Russo (@FlyByKnite) December 2, 2017
The bottom line is Darnold would have succeeded anywhere he went but with no clear frontrunner for the Jets, it can happen sooner rather than later.
Fight On Sam and Jet Up!
Here are some draft night tidbits for you to enjoy: