The New York Jets have failed to properly develop several great college quarterbacks. Right now, Sam Darnold is in their hands.
Over the past decade, Gang Green has pulled the trigger on both Geno Smith and Mark Sanchez. While Sanchez, the USC product, was part of a Jets squad that reached the AFC Championship in consecutive years, he struggled immensely from 2011-2013. As a result, the team moved on from him. In the 2nd round of the 2013 NFL Draft, Gang Green selected West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith. Though the Jets’ front office had high hopes for Smith, he simply never lived up to his expectations and was deemed a draft bust. From 2015-2017, New York had Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh McCown at the helm. Fitzpatrick, though, was extremely inconsistent and McCown was aging and was a backup caliber quarterback.
Third Time’s A Charm?
After a 5-11 season in 2017, Gang Green held the 6th pick in the 2018 draft. However, they moved up to the 3rd pick via trade with the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts received the 6th, 37th, and 49th picks in that same draft. With the pick, there were many talented quarterback prospects such as Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield, and Sam Darnold. Leading up to draft night, many thought the winless Browns would grab Sam Darnold. However, with the 3rd pick, general manager Mike Maccagnan selected former USC Trojan Sam Darnold, in a relatively shocking move. Darnold was a highly-touted prospect coming in, playing both basketball and football in college.
Sam Darnold’s Rookie Season
Many around the Jets organization believed Darnold wouldn’t start Week 1 at the Detroit Lions. However, the Jets traded Teddy Bridgewater before the season, making Darnold the immediate starter. On his very first throw as a pro, he threw a pick-six which was taken in for a touchdown by Lions safety Quandre Diggs. Darnold would have a great game the rest of the way, leading to a 48-17 rout of the Lions. While he would lose his next few games, he was beginning to establish a connection with tight end Chris Herndon. Despite his midseason struggles, the Jets hoped Darnold would show signs of promise. After Week 9’s contest against the Miami Dolphins, Sam Darnold missed three games due to injury. When he returned, Darnold showed progress in his final four games. Things began to look up for the rookie heading into year two.
Le’Veon Bell & Adam Gase In Town
While Darnold wasn’t horrible in 2018, he did have his fair share of rookie mistakes, tossing 15 interceptions and 17 touchdowns. The 2019 offseason brought an end to the Todd Bowles era, after being after four years as Jets head coach. To replace Bowles, the Jets brought in former Dolphins coach Adam Gase. An endorsement phone call from Peyton Manning did the job. Additionally, Gang Green signed both running back Le’Veon Bell and wide receiver Jamison Crowder to give Darnold more weapons to work with. 2019 was supposed to be a major step forward for the Jets. Unfortunately, Darnold contracted mononucleosis and was sidelined for three weeks. While he was decent when he came back, the Jets’ offensive line and playcalling were holding him back from reaching his full potential. The Jets finished 2019 at 7-9. You could say 2019 was a mixed bag for Darnold.
2020 and Beyond
Gang Green retained head coach Adam Gase for the 2020 season. The Jets lost wide receiver Robby Anderson, who signed with the Panthers in free agency. It’s sad because Anderson and Sam Darnold were forming chemistry. Anyways, the Jets revamped the entire offensive line by signing Greg Van Roten, Alex Lewis, and drafting stud left tackle Mekhi Becton from Louisville. Gang Green also signed former 2015 first-round pick Breshad Perriman in free agency, who shined towards the end of 2019. Also, they drafted Baylor wide receiver Denzel Mims in the 2nd round. The thought was that Darnold would take the next step in 2020. However, it has been the complete opposite thus far. The Jets have fielded multiple injuries to the offensive side of the ball. Le’Veon Bell and Jamison Crowder have been out since Week 2. Breshad Perriman has been injured since Week 3. Both tight ends Chris Herndon and Ryan Griffin have disappeared in the offense.
It’s not been an easy road for Sam Darnold throughout his career. Whether it’s the talent or the coaching around him, Darnold has been set up to be a failure. He’s damaged goods at this point.
Do the Jets remain with Sam Darnold after this season?