With the third overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the New York Jets have selected:

Sam Darnold, Quarterback, USC

Fight On, ol’ SC. Sam Darnold is headed from Southern California to the Big Apple.

While he may have been projected to be the first quarterback taken, the Browns and Giants both passed on the USC prospect,  drafting Baker Mayfield and Saquon Barkley respectively. This allowed him to fall right into the hands of the Jets, who didn’t fail to pull the trigger. With the first offensive player taken in the first round since Mark Sanchez, the Jets are certainly taking a step in the right direction.

After trading up to the third spot with the Colts in the draft, it was clear that the Jets would need a quarterback, having little to no success in finding Broadway Joe’s successor since his retirement, still remaining the only Jets quarterback to this day to bring a superbowl to this long standing franchise.

This draft selection may leave many wondering: Is Darnold the right choice?

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Darnold was hailed as one of the best quarterbacks leading up to the draft. The 6’3 220 pound quarterback helped lead USC to a Rose Bowl victory, rallying his team against Penn State to win 52-49 in 2017, which was the highest scoring Rose Bowl of all time. Darnold set a record in individual points scored, as well as passing for the most touchdown in the history of the bowl game. He also led USC to a Pac 12 Conference Championship, being awarded MVP in the victory over Stanford.

Darnold was also voted to the 2017 First Team All Pac 12 class.

Concerns for Darnold arise, in most part, from his turnovers. In 2017 alone, Darnold was tied for the national lead in total turnovers with 22. In the 2018 Cotton Bowl against Ohio State, the USC quarterback was responsible for three total turnovers in the 24-7 loss. On the season, he threw for 4,143, 26 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. The Jets will now have to train Darnold to keep his hands on the ball, or else the defense will be forced to be on the field more than it has been already. The curse of USC quarterbacks also looms, as not one has ever played in a Superbowl. Memories of Butt Fumble Mark Sanchez comes to mind, Carson Palmer’s terrible postseason performances, with the finale coming in a four interception blowout against the Panthers in 2015. Todd Marinovich’s short, drug filled career also rears its ugly head.

Can Sam finally be the one who breaks the curse?

Even with the turnover issue, Sam Darnold’s upside is tremendous. He truly could be the future of the Jets. Todd Bowles will have to correct the rookie, in hopes that he is the signal caller that the franchise has been searching for.

 

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