Sam Darnold, QB, USC
New year, new team, same agonizing decision. Who to take in the first round? Last year’s pick quickly got me the boot from my last gig with the Ravens, selecting a guy in the top 15 who wound up going in the second round. (Though I would argue Zach Cunningham’s play on the field last year with the Texans more than justified my selection). But Ozzie Newsome was having none of it.
So here I am, with an early first round pick, just trying not to screw it up. Woody Johnson has all but told me if I screw this up I’ll never work in NFL again. Or worse, I’ll have to work for the Browns! To make matters worse, the Jets put together a package of picks to move up to the 3rd pick in the draft. No pressure right?
My hands are obviously tied here. You do not make a trade like the Jets did to get into the top 3 to select anything but a quarterback. Although I would be lying if the prospect of Saquan Barkley would not have tempted me, alas, it was not to be. As I sat down pondering my choices at QB I came to the sudden realization that there is no clear, stand out QB this draft. There are three, maybe four, very good QBs in this draft each of which have their fair share of flaws that need to be worked out. How to decide between them was the difficult part. Surprisingly, neither the Giants or Browns took a QB, so I have my pick of the litter. Now there’s even more pressure to get this right.
So who to pick.
Well let’s start with the first name I was able to eliminate. Baker Mayfield. He’s got a lot of intangibles going for him. He’s got great instincts, nice touch on the ball, and a gutsy, gunslinger approach to the game. The guy just makes plays. But you need more than that to make it in this league, and frankly there are too many red flags to take Mayfield as the first QB off the board. He’s undersized, his field vision is spotty at times, he dances in the pocket and his footwork is not good at all. He’s too much of a project to take at 3. Baker is out.
Then came the Joshes. Admittedly, these two QBs both had qualities that made me strongly consider them at the number 3 slot. Starting with the QB from Wyoming. There is a lot to like about Josh Allen. He has great size and a strong arm. The guy is built like an NFL QB and he’s an excellent athlete to boot who is really hard to bring down. He has a quick release and he can throw on the run. But like Mayfield there are some holes in his game that suggest he’s a project. His accuracy, ball-security, decision making and touch all need work. To make matters worse, all of these issues were exposed against lesser competition. Josh Allen is out.
Which brings me to a pair of California QBs: Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen. I was very close to taking Josh Allen. He’s a prototypical pocket passer. When he has time he is down right lethal. He’s got a phenomenal arm, sees the field well, has incredibly strong fundamentals - especially his footwork, and has a very high football IQ. When you put on the game tape, there is a lot to like. But there are other factors to consider here. Durability, the guy has had several injuries including two concussions, a shoulder injury, and a hand injury. But the bigger issue for me is his maturity. He made a lot of stupid, immature decisions off the field that drew unwanted distractions to himself and his team. His relationship with the media is also problematic. When you draft a QB in the top 5 he’s the face of your franchise. If I were picking a QB for a team like Tennessee, Cleveland or Jacksonville, I might be willing to look past this issue. But I’m not picking for them, I’m picking for New York. If Rosen continues to act like he did at UCLA, the New York media and fan base will eat him alive.
Which leaves me with my pick. Sam Darnold. Like Rosen, there is a lot on tape to love about Sam Darnold. He’s a very accurate QB, he can fit the ball in tight windows, he’s got great anticipation on where his receivers will be and he’s got great poise in the pocket. In addition, he’s got great mobility, can throw it well on the run, he keeps his eyes down field as he’s scrambling, and he can throw off balance. He is the ideal QB to run a West Coast Offense, which is exactly what the Jets are looking for. To top it off, the guy knows how to win. Throughout his career at USC, Sam found ways to will his team to victory. Last season’s Rose Bowl performance alone proves how much of an X-Factor Sam Darnold can be on the field. As a Penn State fan I can personally attest to Sam Darnold’s ability to takeover games and break the hearts of opposing fans.
Darnold is not a perfect prospect, but his weaknesses are very manageable. While his arm is not elite like Rosen’s arm is, it is still very good. He’s got an unusual delivery at time, but he can speed up his release so its not a major issue. The biggest issue he needs to clean up is his turnovers, but even there, the issue is not as glaring as it seems, as he had several INTs that were the result of tipped balls that were arguably his WRs fault. That being said, it needs to be cleaned up and Darnold will be the first to admit it. At the end of the day, Darnold has all of the skills for a QB to succeed in the NFL.
So with the 3rd Pick in the NFL Draft, the New York Jets select Sam Darnold. Because when has a First Round QB from USC ever steered the Jets wrong?
Do you approve of this pick?
This poll is closed
2018 BGN Community Mock Draft Order
1) Browns (GMinTraining): Saquon Barkley
2) Giants (ablesser88): Quenton Nelson
3) Jets (20Safety_Hazards): Sam Darnold
4) Browns (MJ1893):
5) Broncos (drc242):
6) Colts (I Need a Username):
7) Buccaneers (dunc123):
8) Bears (NVEagleShark):
9) 49ers (Doug Pederson’s Pair of Balls):
10) Raiders (Milehighbirds):
11) Dolphins (danishdynamite_):
12) Bills (LAOJoe)
13) Washington (Eagle1987):
14) Packers (89Tremaine):
15) Cardinals (TJ “Ben Simmons” Mcconnell):
17) Chargers (LBCeaglesFan!):
18) Seahawks (KEZHOG):
19) Cowboys (Brawnybalboa):
20) Lions (dshelton5):
21) Bengals (Palaniappan K M):
22) Bills (BeamerWentzorBentley):
23) Rams (jy1187):
24) Panthers (dceagles):
25) Titans (ei78):
26) Falcons (SakPrescott):
27) Saints (MidMajorMatt):
28) Steelers (SummersInVA):
29) Jaguars (RecarTabmok):
30) Vikings (AnthroEagle):
31) Patriots (PhilaWolverine):
32) Eagles (JALupowitz):
Now it’s time for you to vote for who YOU think the Jets should pick in the 2018 BGN Consensus Mock Draft.
Who should the Jets draft at No. 3 overall?
This poll is closed
2018 BGN Consensus Mock Draft Order
1) Browns: Saquon Barkley
2) Giants: Sam Darnold