When the New York Jets elected to draft quarterback Sam Darnold with the third overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, they made a proclamation that they were looking to their future. Now that they have made that selection, they should make sure to not rush things and keep that future as bright as possible. To do this, the team should ease Darnold into things and not rush him into playing before they feel that he is ready.
A lot of talk has come about as far as how to handle Darnold is concerned. Some have argued that he should play right away, while others think that taking things slow is the way to go for the quarterback out of USC. While there are merits to the idea that Darnold should learn how to play quarterback in the NFL by doing it, such a stance is misguided given the history of the quarterback position for this team.
Year after year, the Jets have tried to find the perfect quarterback for what they wanted to do. This process has involved the team drafting young quarterbacks, sitting them behind veterans, and then panicking and playing the young players too early. This can cause a number of problems for a team, and has indeed done so over recent Jets history.
A great example of this is Bryce Petty, who the Jets severed ties with to make room for Darnold and veteran Teddy Bridgewater this summer. Petty came into the league as a talented passer who needed time to learn how to read NFL defenses. Instead of giving him that time, the Jets threw him into live game action late in a losing season. Petty never got the hang of things, his confidence not as high as it could have been, and it showed in his poor play.
Avoiding this with Darnold will be crucial for the Jets, who need him to be a home run pick for a number of reasons. In addition to just wanting to win games, the team has a chance to stick it to the Giants, who passed on Darnold to take running back Saquon Barkley number two overall. Winning the battle with their roommates, so to speak, would be great for the Jets’ momentum going forward.
According to Super Bowl LIII NFL betting odds, the Jets are massive underdogs to play in the big game. So without a big chance of contending for a title, it would be smart for the Jets to be patient and let Darnold play only when he has shown when he is ready. Instead of putting him into late-season action and risking his confidence, this approach can help him be the best player possible.
Everything went well for the Jets on the first night of the NFL Draft, as their trade to the number three pick got them possibly the best quarterback available in this year’s class. If the Jets treat Sam Darnold properly, he has the potential to be one of the great quarterbacks in recent NFL history.