New York Jets – How Does Sam Darnold Win The Starting Job?

Connor Rogers on what Sam Darnold needs to do to be the New York Jets starting quarterback in 2018

Rookie minicamp has begun in Florham Park, NJ for the Jets, which means Sam Darnold’s audition to start week one is officially underway.

Judging by Todd Bowles’ comments, it’s safe to assume the third overall pick will have a very good chance to show he’s ready to make an instant impact. Let’s breakdown what Darnold has to do over these next few months to come out as the week one starter in Detroit.

Hit the splash plays

Let’s not be foolish here: Sam Darnold is going to turn the ball over this year. He’s 20 years old, was a tad turnover prone in college and will be playing behind an average at best offensive line.

But what if I told you that’s okay? Those will decrease over time. The coaching staff can live with those if the upside of his big play ability evens things out.

Josh McCown had a solid 2017 season where his yards per attempt was 7.37, right in the middle of the pack in the NFL. The deep speed of Robby Anderson greatly helped this vital category, making him an integral part of the Jets offense.

Darnold has a chance to improve on that with an arm that allowed him to thrive in the intermediate game at the college level. He can also create with his legs, which he does not get enough credit for:

The Jets will have a fast, aggressive defense in 2018. With Trumaine Johnson in place, Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye are expected to have more turnover opportunities.

If the defense can get the ball back to Darnold in key spots, you can live with his turnovers by opening up the big play threat in your offense. This is his best trait backing the argument for him to start instantly.

Grasp Jeremy Bates’ offense

The Jets new offensive coordinator will be extremely demanding and challenging of his quarterback room. We’re well aware that Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater can handle what’s thrown at them from a mental aspect, but will a 20 year old right out of college be able to?

Darnold is bright and as hard of a working player that you can find. It’s part of what made him a special prospect. With that being said, will he be able to grasp the offense early this Summer that puts him on the field with the starters quickly?

The Teddy factor

It’s odd that a potentially very good aspect can lead to Darnold waiting for his turn to play. If Teddy Bridgewater is healthy (a big if), he’s going to fight for the chance to play.

He’s one of the most respected players across the league, has starter caliber talent and can develop into a trade chip (the Jets would love to get a mid rounder back after losing their 2019 second round pick).

It’s a long shot, but don’t entirely rule out Bridgewater. If he’s the reason that Sam Darnold needs to wait a little bit, it’s a good thing for Gang Green.

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