The New York Jets 2018 minicamp is officially in the books after weeks of OTAs where much of the team was in attendance. Minicamp is an ideal time for the staff to begin install, get an eye on the rookies for potential mechanical fixes and most importantly for the quarterbacks to build chemistry with their targets.
With plenty of media on hand this week, what are the most vital things to keep an eye on heading into training camp as well as the biggest takeaways? Let’s break it down.
Is Darnold Ahead of the Curve?
You have to be extremely cautious what you take away from any practices before training camp opens, but the early reports on Sam Darnold have been very positive.
Todd Bowles is not one to overhype players in press conferences (shout out to Rex Ryan hyping up everyone from Quinton Coples to Stephen Hill), but even he came out and said Darnold’s ‘learning has been outstanding.’
— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) June 14, 2018
We know Darnold, physically, is a gifted player. He’s big, mobile and throws with touch. The biggest question after being drafted was how would he pick up an NFL offense, along with the speed at the pro level?
Keep in mind he just turned 21 years old last week, which would make him by far the youngest starting quarterback in the NFL. It’s not a long shot though, with Jeremy Bates coming out and saying he very would could be the guy week one at Detroit.
If I was a betting man, I’d say Darnold ends up the Jets starter after training camp. Teddy Bridgewater has impressed and Josh McCown is currently penciled in as QB1, but the upside of the number three overall pick may be too much to pass.
He’ll certainly have his ups and downs (rookie turnovers), but he is the future. It might just be OTA’s and Minicamp, but it’s a positive sign he’s taking advantage of being in the driver’s seat for the job.
The Surprise Standout Rookie
Yes, we’ve heard all about Sam Darnold. It’s also no secret there are expectations for Nathan Shepherd on the defensive line and Chris Herndon in the tight end group.
Oddly enough though, after discussions with many and from reporters watching practices, it has been sixth round cornerback Parry Nickerson that is flashing a ton over these past few weeks.
While a tad undersized, Nickerson makes up for this with elite speed (4.32 forty-yard dash), ball skills and a fearless feistiness in coverage. While Trumaine Johnson, Mo Claiborne and Buster Skrine are penciled in to play a majority of the snaps, the young corner out of Tulane will be a key name to watch in preseason.
While Robby Anderson has said he does not expect a suspension, he could still be on the hook for a game in the 2018 season from the league. Overall, this is a good sign for one of the best young vertical threats in the NFL.
He’ll be a free agent after this season and needs to stay out of trouble off the field. I wouldn’t expect a long-term deal, but if he thrives yet again this year the franchise tag could certainly come into play.
A more recent incident is rookie tight end Chris Herndon’s arrest for a DWI. Fortunately for Herndon, he’s okay after the crash and has been practicing. He still has a chance to start.
I wouldn’t expect a suspension, if any at all, handed down by the league until the 2019 season. Either way, it would be ideal if members of Gang Green could stay out of trouble going forward.
Photo Credit: newyorkjets.com