Sam Darnold was taken by the New York Jets with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. It was a pick that New York fans couldn’t have been more excited about. After years of searching for a franchise quarterback, it seems like the Jets may have finally found their man.
Many considered Darnold to be the best quarterback in the draft class. Baker Mayfield ended up going No. 1 to the Cleveland Browns and the New York Giants had already locked in on Saquon Barkley at No. 2. Drafting Darnold at No. 3 wasn’t even a question for the Jets.
Last season with the USC Trojans, Darnold ended up completing 63.7 percent of his pass attempts for 3,787 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. He showed off an incredibly strong arm and great leadership skills. There are still some questions about his accuracy, but the Jets feel that he will be just fine.
According to a report shared by Bleacher Report, Darnold could end up winning the Jets’ starting quarterback job as a rookie in 2018.
Darnold understands that the starting job won’t be given to him. He will have to earn it.
“You have to come in here and earn respect. I’m not going to come in here and demand it. “I just have to come in here understanding the position I’m in. I’m a rookie—I understand that—but at the same time, I’m a quarterback, and I have to be a leader on the field and off it as well.”
That understanding will take Darnold a long way with the Jets. Understanding that leadership comes first and that hard work will earn him playing time is a major key. Beating out Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater isn’t going to be an easy task, but Darnold certainly has the talent to do so.
Standing in at 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, Darnold has the body to withstand the NFL. He isn’t going to be the type of rookie quarterback to come in and take a beating and let that shake him up.
Expect to see the Jets give Darnold every chance to win the starting job. Whether he ends up winning it or not will not matter in the grand scheme of things. If he starts the season on the bench, he will learn from both McCown and Bridgewater and will be given extremely valuable experience without having to learn from mistakes on the field.