The New York Jets selected USC quarterback Sam Darnold with the third overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, landing arguably the best signal caller in this class. Despite an onslaught of Baker Mayfield/Josh Rosen pre-draft chatter, it was a surprise that Darnold was available and it isn’t shocking the Jets pulled the trigger on him . Here are a few initial thoughts:
1 – Darnold was long considered the favorite to go with the first overall pick but slid his way to the New York Jets at #3. The team was likely ecstatic to get their hands on a player who had they had assumed would be long gone by the time they picked (kind of similar to what happened with Jamal Adams last year). There is no chance Darnold would have been available at #6 so the Jets are likely feeling that much better about their trade up at the moment.
2 – We wrote more about Darnold’s game here and here. Darnold is a young prospect (only 20 years old!) who has a textbook frame and skill set for a NFL quarterback. He was the “cleanest” prospect out of the top three quarterbacks with zero off the field concerns or questions and has the highest upside long term. He has the arm strength, size and mobility to be an Andrew Luck (healthy, Andrew Luck) type player if everything comes together properly.
3 – The concerns? Darnold struggled with turnovers and accuracy at times last year, in a somewhat disappointing overall season. There are valid concerns about how inconsistent he can be with his mechanics and he will be a bigger work in progress earlier in his career than Josh Rosen or Baker Mayfield.
4 – Despite this, there is no reason to think Darnold would not have the ability to start week one. He shouldn’t struggle to pick up the Jets playbook and is substantially more talented than any other quarterback currently on the roster. If the “competition” is even remotely close, Darnold should be the guy in week 1. There is nothing to wait for. Let him learn on the job so this team is ready to compete by 2019.
5 – Be excited Jets fans. you landed a legitimate franchise quarterback prospect who is arguably the best player in his class at his position. The move up from #6 to #3 helped guarantee that Darnold would be there for the taking and if he plays to his ability, nobody will think twice about the second round picks that were traded away.
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