PrimeSport Turn On The Jets 12 Pack – New York Jets NFL Draft Reaction Edition

Joe Caporoso with a Turn On The Jets 12 Pack of thoughts on Sam Darnold and how the NFL Draft’s first round played out, along with thoughts on day two…

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1 – Clear out an hour of your weekend and give this podcast a listen if you are looking for further information on the New York Jets new franchise quarterback. It is an exhaustive breakdown of Sam Darnold’s film, analytics and career history at USC. There is nothing wrong with thinking Josh Rosen and/or Baker Mayfield were superior prospects to Darnold (I did) but the difference between the three was so negligible that it is impossible to be worked up about the selection. Darnold put together a career at USC and has a physical skill set that merited a top five pick.

2 – The Player Profiler comparison for Darnold is below:

Personally, I think a better comparison for him is a heathy Andrew Luck or Tony Romo, if he hits his ceiling. The style of play is similar and if he can clean up his mechanics and ball security, there is no reason he cannot be that type of player in the NFL.

3 – People will say it, so let’s get this out of the way now. Sam Darnold is not Mark Sanchez and they have literally nothing in common except for the college they attended, nearly a decade apart. Outside of everything listed below, they had completely different styles of play and from the reports around Darnold, completely different personalities off the field.

4 – I wrote this about Darnold pre-draft 

It is debatable whether Darnold is legitimately the best quarterback in this class but not surprising he is considered the consensus top pick. He checks every single box a traditional NFL GM wants to check when selecting a franchise quarterback. Darnold has prototypical size (6’4, 220 pounds), the ability to break the pocket and utilize his legs effectively, the arm to make every throw in the playbook and is only 20 years old. Beyond that, he is the “cleanest” prospect of the top quarterbacks. There is not a whisper of off the field concerns about him and he nearly made the front office/media complex pass out in adoration by staying behind to throw for his teammate’s pro day. He is a golden boy prospect, to many.

Of course, no prospect is without their flaws and like we said previously, it isn’t even abundantly clear that Darnold is the top quarterback coming out. He took a step back with his accuracy last season and turns the football over with head turning frequency. Darnold is also far from mechanically perfect, which is understandable considering his age but concerning if he ends up in a shaky team situation in the NFL. This is worth a full watch on the good and bad with Darnold but here is a quick contrast.

This is a clean pocket, yet Darnold is hopping in place rather than progressing through his drop and footwork. After staring down one side of the field, he does progress back across the formation but doesn’t put his body into the throw, instead leaning only on his arm. This leads to a bad miss of a wide open target.

However, Darnold has demonstrated natural and unique anticipation when throwing the football. This deep crosser is one of the more challenging throws in a college or NFL playbook but Darnold stays in perfect rhythm and delivers into the open window with perfect timing. He has enough moments like this to convince any coaching staff that his lapses of mechanical inconsistency are fixable.

5 – Darnold has a skill set that should be flexible to most, if not all, schemes in the NFL. Hopefully, Jeremy Bates will be smart and build his play calling and overall scheme around Darnold’s strengths. He is a player who can thrive outside of the pocket and throwing on the move. Darnold can also be effective when utilizing RPO concepts, particularly the ones that the Eagles destroyed the Patriots with last season. The mark of a good coach is somebody who can be flexible enough to build around their player’s talents, not force a square peg into a round hole.

6 – I elaborated on this more here but the Jets should not be shy at all about playing Sam Darnold this season. He will be the team’s best quarterback in training camp and if they have a competition that is remotely close, there is no reason not to play your 20 year old instead of your 39 year old (I don’t think Teddy Bridgewater is going to be on the opening day roster). You are better served going 6-10 with Darnold while he learns on the job than going 6-10 with Josh McCown, which is the Jets ceiling with him under center. Get your team ready to compete in 2019 by getting Darnold ready to compete in 2019 from learning and playing through his development this season.

7 – Turnovers are unquestionably a red flag with Darnold and something he must work to clean up at this level. This will likely be an issue early in his career but hopefully is something he learns from season over season, particularly when it comes to protecting the football in the pocket and tucking it away when he scrambles.

8 – Dalbin Osorio listed out potential day two targets here. I originally mocked the Jets to take OL Tyrell Crosby in round three but part of me feels like they are going to end up with a running back who falls further than he should in a loaded class. Either way, I am expecting an offensive player unless a better than expected pass rusher is on the board.

9 – I still cannot believe the Buffalo Bills traded up to select Josh Allen when Josh Rosen was still on the board. I am more than happy that my QB1 (and many other’s QB1) is safely tucked away in the NFC West. Jets fans should feel very good about the state of their quarterback position compared to Buffalo and Miami’s right now.

10 – Let’s get Quincy Enunwa working those seam routes, ASAP!

11 – I liked what the Cleveland Browns did with their two first round picks. Both were surprising but Mayfield has a good claim on being the top quarterback in the class and Denzel Ward was the top corner in the class. PREMIUM POSITIONS.

12 – It doesn’t matter how good Saquon Barkley turns out to be (he will be very good at this level), it was foolish for the Giants to invest in a running back with the second overall pick.

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Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the VP of Social Media at Whistle Sports