The Jets draft spotlight is now on Josh Rosen and Sam Darnold
By Sean Collins-Cruz
As we New York Jets fans find ourselves in unfortunately all-too-familiar territory in January, on the outside of the postseason looking in, we look for glimmers of hope to latch onto. While the territory may be familiar, the feeling around this team is not.
In previous years, with a team full of aging veterans trying to capture lightning in a bottle, this January feeling has been a lot bleaker. The New York Jets rode highs of unexpected success but came to the crushing realizations that the team just was not built for long-term, sustained success.
Perhaps the bleakest moment for Jets fans was this previous offseason, in which we saw all contributing veterans jettisoned from the team. The familiar faces that had filled the halls of 1 Jets Drive were gone in an instant, and we fans were left in a state of uncertainty.
We knew this time would come. We knew it was necessary. This was the first step to truly rebuilding the team from the ground up. We knew all this, but we were worried.
Now, as we sit in this familiar position, there is a different kind of buzz surrounding our beloved Green & White. Young players stepped up and made impact plays all over the field. The team blew the horrid expectations out of the water, and though it may not be reflected in a winning record, it shone clear as day in the new winning attitude that fills this new Jets locker room.
Now, ahead of schedule in the rebuild, with a core of young, talented, and passionate players, the Jets are in prime position, with the 6th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, and around $80 million in cap space, to complete the rebuild and get this team on the track to sustained success.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, “doesn’t this guy know that we’ll never go anywhere until we get a quarterback?” Yes, yes I do. And the Jets, along with the rest of the NFL got some really good news just a few days ago.
The consensus among draft pundits across the Twitterverse is that Josh Rosen of UCLA and Sam Darnold of USC are the top two QBs in this 2018 draft class. And on Wednesday night, each of them declared for the draft within minutes of each other.
Next: Rosen's Official Statement
Thankful to be a Bruin pic.twitter.com/iph754UL2b
— Josh Rosen (@josh3rosen) January 3, 2018
Rosen’s Official Statement
On his personal Twitter account, Josh posted this official statement declaring for the 2018 NFL Draft. In the statement he thanks his coaches, teammates, professors, and mentors of all kinds.
He touches on mistakes he’s made, and the subsequent learning opportunities that came from them while crediting UCLA’s supportive environment as a key to his betterment as a man and athlete. Rosen is no stranger to media controversy, but nobody can take away the fact that he has a clear, level head on his shoulders. If some teams and coaches don’t like that, it’s their loss.
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Josh goes on to dedicate a whole paragraph to thanking his teammates. Admitting he would have liked to win more games, he talks about the friendships he built at UCLA, and not wishing to trade it in for anything.
He wraps it up by thanking his family, and a cute post-script letting his mom know that he’ll eventually go back for his degree. A smart son, man, and quarterback, Rosen will be one to watch in 2018 and beyond.
Rosen will be getting a draft spotlight here on The Jet Press during the road to the draft. We’ll cover such traits as his accuracy, mobility, decision-making, etc. so make sure to keep your eyes peeled for that!
Next: Twitter Reacts to Rosen
Twitter Reacts to Rosen
When the consensus top quarterbacks of a draft declare for the yearly event, it’s going to make some waves. Draft twitter was in full force during the announcement. What follows are a few reaction tweets from different NFL & Draft personnel.
First up is Albert Breer sounding giddy about what us NFL and Draft fans have to look forward to until April. With so many QBs in this year’s class, can you blame him?
So that means the presumptive top 4 QBs in the class — USC's Sam Darnold, UCLA's Josh Rosen, Wyoming's Josh Allen and Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield — are all in for 2018. Should be a fun ride to April.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 4, 2018
Next up is draft expert, Daniel Jeremiah. Just like Breer, DJ seems quite excited about the current QB stock after the Rosen/Darnold announcements. These four guys will be getting draft spotlights soon here on The Jet Press, along with 1-2 more of the top choices available in this draft, so stay tuned!
This Draft is going to be very intriguing. #Darnold #Rosen #Allen #Mayfield (still waiting on Jackson)
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) January 4, 2018
Lastly, we’ve got Mr. Reliable himself, Adam Schefter reacting to the news. Apparently Schefty’s got some information we don’t (shocker), as he confidently mocks the QBs to two specific destinations. Spoiler: neither team has green in their jerseys
So NFL Draft now has Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen, who could wind up as the draft’s top top two picks. A QB for Cleveland, a QB for NYG.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 4, 2018
Needless to say, the first few picks in this year’s draft will more than likely break Twitter if it goes down like this or if a team (cough, Jets, cough) trades up to grab Rosen or Darnold.
Next: Darnold's Official Statement
Darnold’s Official Statement
On his personal Instagram account, Darnold posted this official statement, in a series of three short videos, declaring for the 2018 NFL Draft. Despite only being the starter for two years, Darnold is expected to be the first or second QB off the board:
A post shared by Sam Darnold (@samdarnold) on
Amidst swirling rumors of Darnold being likely to return to USC for another year, it seems he came to the conclusion that nothing he could have done could possibly get him drafted higher than he’s already expected to go.
In the videos, Darnold thanks essentially everyone associated with USC’s organization and speaks on the winning culture created during his time there. Lastly, of course, Darnold thanks his family and officially declares.
Darnold will also be getting a draft spotlight here on The Jet Press during the road to the draft. As with Rosen, we’ll cover his accuracy, mobility, decision-making, etc. so make sure to stay tuned for that as well!
Next: Twitter Reacts to Darnold
Twitter Reacts to Darnold
As with Rosen, Sam’s declaration made some waves. Draft twitter was in full force during the announcement. What follows are a few reaction tweets from different NFL & Draft personnel, along with a glowing tweet from Darnold’s coach, Clay Helton.
First up we have NFL Draft expert, Matt Miller reacting to the Darnold decision. Matt has made it clear all season that he sees Darnold firmly as QB1 in this draft class, with Rosen just behind him.
Early favorite—before free agency—for the #1 pick should be Sam Darnold.
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) January 4, 2018
Next up, Michael Felder from Bleacher Report weighs in on the Darnold news. Felder, keeping it real as always, applauds Darnold’s decision to enter the draft, while giving a little cautionary message about Darnold’s development. Darnold had an up and down year and has things to work on. But, if he gets some issues fixed, his ceiling is incredibly high.
Darnold declaring for the draft, good for him. Like most QBs, he's got work to do. Hopefully he ends up in a spot where he gets good coaching to help him reach high ceiling.
— Michael Felder (@InTheBleachers) January 4, 2018
Next, we’ve got a review from Ry Cole, Bleacher Report Social Media contributor, and former USC alum, that can’t be ignored. He contends that Darnold is the most talented QB in USC history. While many of the USC QBs haven’t enjoyed much success in the NFL, other than now-retired Carson Palmer, they’ve generally lit up college football. This is high praise for Darnold, to be sure.
Thank you, Sam Darnold.
The most talented quarterback I’ve seen in USC history. Marginalized by poor coaching, but this is the RIGHT decision.
— Ry (@JustRyCole) January 4, 2018
Last up, we’ve got a great message from Darnold’s coach at USC, Clay Helton. Coach Helton seems to think very highly of Darnold, and that extends beyond football. This is the kind of message you want to see from a coach when one of his players declares for the Draft. This small message tells you a lot when it comes from the man presiding over Darnold’s development for two years.
Thank you Sam Darnold for being the person, player, and man of character that you are! You are the true example of what it means to be a Trojan! #TrojanForLife #FightOn
— Clay Helton (@USCCoachHelton) January 4, 2018
Must Read: Breaking down key Jets players to keep or cut
With high praise for each QB, and NFL-caliber resumes, the 2018 NFL Draft just got a big boost in firepower. Hopefully, the Jets can bring such firepower to a franchise that desperately needs it at quarterback. Could they trade up to land Rosen or Darnold? Who knows what is going to ultimately happen but it’s safe to say, either quarterback could finally be the answer the Jets have been looking for.