Cue the Michael Scott “Oh, my God! Okay, it’s happening!” in here somewhere.
When the Jets moved up from the 6th to the 3rd pick in exchange for a pair of second rounders, there were so many possibilities of what that could have meant. If the first two picks were quarterbacks, maybe the Jets take Saquon Barkley and ride the Josh McCown wave for another year (look at Ryan Fitzpatrick and how that turned out). Or if the first pick was Darnold and the Giants stuck with Barkley, the Jets would have drafted “Broadway Baker”, which would have most likely split the fanbase in two considering how he may be seen as “too controversial” to some.
Regardless, this is now Sam Darnold’s team.
Of course, he must replicate the performance he had against the Falcons last week, but this time as a starter and put on a show against the first-team Washington Redskins. With all of the drama that has been going during joint practices (see Terrelle Pryor vs. DJ Swearinger), this game might get chippy from the get-go. What is going to matter most to Jets fans, however, is not who initiates a fight, or says the most during an interview, but how confident they are in Darnold as the week one starter. Seemingly, Todd Bowles has not even announced Darnold as the starter for this Thursday, but after playing 23 out of 28 snaps with the first-team, it is time to put down your life savings on #14 getting the nod.
Receiving praise from one of the best cornerbacks in the league, Josh Norman, is no easy task. Sam Darnold got it on Tuesday. Sam Darnold is also a rookie who was supposed to be the 3rd string QB before training camps and preseason began. It is becoming more clear by the day where this journey is headed. Darnold did not throw a single interception throughout the joint practices, so as of right now there are no possible reasons to justify benching a kid with this much immediate talent. Coming out of USC, he was not labeled as a project-type QB like Josh Allen or even Lamar Jackson. Everybody knew he was ready to play in the big leagues from the start, and it is all being unveiled right before our very eyes.
Unless we see a total collapse on Thursday night, Sam Darnold has beaten out two NFL veterans to become the Jets franchise cornerstone, and this is surely only the beginning for the kid out of Capistrano Beach, California.