Are post-Sam Darnold Jets higher outfitted to develop subsequent QB? Sure and no


FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Right here they go once more.

For the second time in three years, the New York Jets will make investments a excessive draft choose in a quarterback, a university surprise boy tasked with the big problem of invigorating a star-crossed franchise. They botched it with Sam Darnold, whose shortcomings have been exacerbated by organizational failure on a number of ranges. Now it is truthful to surprise:

Will or not it’s any totally different with BYU’s Zach Wilson, the presumptive No. 2 total choose within the 2021 NFL draft?

Let’s put it this fashion: Whereas it is laborious to miss the Jets’ lengthy historical past of ruining quarterbacks, the group is in a greater place than it was in 2018, when Darnold arrived with a lot hype. By then, the coach-general supervisor tandem of Todd Bowles-Mike Maccagnan was coming off two straight shedding seasons. The timelines weren’t aligned; it was a rookie quarterback in a win-now state of affairs — a recipe for catastrophe.

And it was. Bowles was fired after the 2018 season, adopted by Maccagnan a number of months later.

Now, with coach Robert Saleh getting into his first season, and with Joe Douglas entrenched as the overall supervisor, the Jets have a secure setting for his or her new face of the franchise. Mike LaFleur, who can have the best affect on the quarterback’s improvement, is unproven as a first-time offensive coordinator, however he is putting in a tried-and-true system that fits Wilson’s talent set.

Continuity is a giant a part of the equation. You possibly can’t develop a younger quarterback if he is caught in the course of a revolving door. He wants an opportunity to develop with a coach and a system. It isn’t a assure for fulfillment — have a look at Mark Sanchez, whose profession went sideways beneath the identical regime — but it surely’s begin.

Now comes the world of concern.

The brand new quarterback’s supporting solid is just about the identical one which completed useless final in whole offense final season. Free-agent addition Corey Davis is a particular improve over Breshad Perriman at vast receiver, and newcomer Keelan Cole Sr. additionally will assist at wideout, however the remainder of the offensive personnel is frighteningly acquainted to what the Jets had in 2020.

Identical 5 starters on the offensive line. No true No. 1 operating again. Main questions at tight finish. And, let’s not overlook, no veteran quarterbacks on the roster.

It is unrealistic to consider Wilson will succeed with the roster as at present constructed. That is the place Douglas has to do a greater job than he did with Darnold. And he is aware of it.

In the summertime of 2019, Douglas, new on the job, promised Darnold’s dad and mom that he would give their son playmakers and protectors. That by no means materialized, as Douglas acknowledged the lapse halfway by means of the 2020 season. Give him credit score for admitting his errors; not many GMs would have finished that. Presumably, he discovered a tough lesson and can assault the brand new state of affairs with a unique plan.

“We’ve to encompass our subsequent quarterback with as a lot expertise as doable,” Douglas stated Tuesday.

With 21 picks within the subsequent two drafts, together with 10 within the first three rounds, Douglas has the sources to construct one thing sustainable round Wilson. He owns the second, twenty third, thirty fourth, 66th and 86th decisions within the draft, which begins April 29. He ought to come out of it with a playmaker and an offensive lineman (or two). There are some urgent defensive wants, so there must be steadiness.



Mike Golic Jr. and Chiney Ogwumike are joyful to see the Jets commerce Sam Darnold to the Panthers.

Douglas ought to be daring and use the Jets’ twenty third choose, together with one among their 2022 second-round picks, to commerce up for an elite-level participant. If one of many high-end pass-catchers falls out of the highest 10, both Florida tight finish Kyle Pitts (unlikely) or one of many prime three vast receivers (maybe Alabama’s Jaylen Waddle), Douglas can have sufficient ammunition to leap up from No. 23 to draft him.

He is sitting on a battle chest of draft picks. Do not be like former GM John Idzik and simply sit on them. Be aggressive and transfer across the board. Put Waddle with Davis, Denzel Mims and Jamison Crowder, and now you are speaking a few doubtlessly explosive receiving corps.

“We do have lots of property,” Douglas stated, “however we have now to benefit from the alternatives.”

Douglas additionally must import an skilled “bridge” quarterback to assist information Wilson by means of the inevitable rising pains, somebody who can begin the season, if essential. It is an enormous leap from BYU’s cream-puff schedule to the weekly challenges of the NFL, and it could be a mistake to hurry him into motion. The place have you ever gone, Josh McCown?

The Jets may signal a free agent (Alex Smith?), look forward to a quarterback to get lower (Teddy Bridgewater?) or commerce a late-round draft choose for a stop-gap choice (Gardner Minshew II?).

Proper now, it is all about constructing a successful setting for Wilson, one thing they didn’t do for Darnold.


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