2018 NFL DraftL: Sam Darnold steps into high exceptions with the Jets

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: Sam Darnold of USC poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being picked
ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: Sam Darnold of USC poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being picked /

With the No. 3 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft the New York Jets selected Sam Darnold. It’s a safe pick, but ultimately a good selection.

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Sam Darnold, the quarterback out of USC is set to compete with Teddy Bridgewater and Josh McGown for the starting position in green and white. What Darnold brings to the table is his incredible instincts. He has excellent pocket awareness and knows when he needs to get out and scramble. Darnold can make eye-popping throws on the run and is almost more comfortable with rolling out as opposed to standing tall.

While turnovers are a concern for the young 20-year-old, it is a coachable flaw. With Darnold you are getting a fearless passer who will do all he can until the clock hits 0:00. During his two seasons as a starter, Darnold went 20-4, picked up a Rose Bowl and Pac 12 Championship on the way, and broke USC’s Single Season Passing Record.

The draft hype really started after Darnold’s pro day, where he impressed in the pouring rain. He has proven he can play in the rain and cold, conditions he will see in New York. He lit up Notre Dame in 2016 at a rainy Coliseum, throwing for 205 yards and two touchdowns. He put on a show in Boulder Colorado this past season, throwing for 329 yards and two passing touchdowns with one more score on the ground.

How he fits with the Jets

Expect to see Darnold put in the work to start game one. Bridgewater is coming off injury and Darnold has been thrust into this position before when he came in for incumbent Max Browne at USC. He can handle sudden pressures well.

If Bridgewater is named the starter and doesn’t put up the numbers come game day, Darnold will be prepared to take it into his own hands.

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Jets fans also don’t have to worry about any character issues with Darnold, he is a solid pick with an incredibly level head on his shoulders. The 2017 Rose Bowl and Pac 12 Championship MVP is the highest drafted USC player since Reggie Bush went second in 2006.

Grade: B