When the New York Jets missed out on getting the first overall selection in the looming 2021 NFL Draft, the organization was forced to go back to the drawing board. Had it nabbed that top pick then it would have been used on Trevor Lawrence out of Clemson and that would be that.
Unfortunately, Lawrence will be off the board by the time the Jets are picking – meaning the organization will need to decide how it feels about proceeding with Sam Darnold as the franchise starter.
Over the past few months there have been a lot of fanciful scenarios where Darnold gets moved to the Indianapolis Colts, Chicago Bears or New Orleans Saints. There has also been a lot of chatter regarding how New York should stick it out with the former USC quarterback.
This week, ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter appeared on SportsCenter and broke down the reality of Darnold’s future with the Jets.
— Sportsnaut (@Sportsnaut) January 15, 2021
“I think the plan would be to proceed with Sam Darnold as the quarterback for the New York Jets in 2021,” he said.
“I think that Joe Douglas and this staff believe in him — Robert Saleh believes in him, and I think they’d like to give Sam Darnold an opportunity for a full season — when he’s healthy, with a new staff to see what he can do.
“I would be surprised if Sam Darnold were not the starting quarterback on opening day.”
Who could’ve predicted that having a threesome with your brother could end so poorly. https://t.co/wifkDzyL6x
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 14, 2021
In 2020, Darnold threw for nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Because he was subjected to being led by head coach Adam Gase, most people gave him a pass for those horrific numbers – but they certainly don’t inspire a ton of confidence going forward.
That said, given the growing sentiment around Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, it would certainly make sense if New York opted to use the No. 2 pick to address one of their many other non-quarterback weaknesses.
The 2021 NFL Draft is set to take place in late April. Ultimately, whatever the Jets decide to do there will likely shape the franchise’s future for many years to come.