Justin Fields had a historic performance on New Year’s Day, one that could change the narrative for the New York Jets as the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL draft.
As Yahoo Sports noted, Fields had a night for the history books on Friday, going 22-of-28 for 385 yards and setting a Sugar Bowl record with six touchdowns. The stellar night helped lead his team to a 49-28 dismantling of the No. 2 Clemson Tigers and set Fields up for an even bigger stage in the upcoming national title game against Alabama.
The game may have a major impact on the upcoming draft. The Jets appeared to have the top overall selection locked up after starting the season 0-13, but a two-game winning streak pushed them down to the second pick and out of the running to select top prospect Trevor Lawrence. However, as ESPN’s Rich Cimini noted, the historic night for Fields makes their slot much more valuable.
“Justin Fields’ performance is a ‘win’ for the Jets. Changes narrative at 2, increases value of the selection. And let’s not forget DeVonta Smith in the first game. Options for #Jets,” he tweeted.
It was not clear if the Jets intended to use their pick on a quarterback or stick with Sam Darnold. As The Inquisitr reported, some insiders believe that he could remain the starter going forward as he has grown more efficient and effective as the season has gone on. Cimini also appeared to suggest that their selection could hold a higher trade value after the Sugar Bowl performance from Fields, and there are a number of teams that could be looking for a quarterback and willing to pay a hefty price to trade up high enough to select him.
As Cimini noted in an article for ESPN, the Jets have a host of options after falling out of the No. 1 slot, including trading down and getting a host of picks in return. But if the team ends up going with Fields — or one of the other top signal callers coming out this year — he believed it would mark the end of Darnold’s tenure in New York.
“If Douglas is convinced one of them will be a franchise quarterback, he must draft him and trade Sam Darnold,” he wrote.
“That might sound harsh, but that’s the reality. He knows what he has in Darnold, whose record is 9-15 since the GM arrived in New York in June 2019.”