Some were skeptical when fourth-year New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan traded up from the No. 6 pick to the No. 3 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, but following the first round, which took place Thursday, it’s clear that the move paid off, at least for now.
It was always expected that the New York Jets would select a quarterback in the 2018 NFL Draft, but when the team jumped up to No. 3, that forgone conclusion became an instant reality. What wasn’t clear, however, was which quarterback the team would select.
For weeks, it had seemed as if the decision was between UCLA’s Josh Rosen and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, with rumors of selecting Wyoming’s Josh Allen popping up here and there. The one signal-caller who didn’t appear to be on the table was USC’s Sam Darnold.
In the month’s leading up to the draft, the 20-year-old Darnold was considered to be the consensus No. 1 pick, often being linked to the Cleveland Browns. Many had considered him to be the best QB in the draft.
The common thought was that the Jets had no shot at him – only until they did. On Thursday, the Browns surprised some and took Mayfield first overall. Then, the New York Giants stayed away from quarterback, taking Penn State’s Saquon Barkley. In the end, Darnold fell right into the Jets’ lap and Maccagnan jumped at the opportunity to select the quarterback he’s been scouting for well over a year.
More from The Jet Press
- NY Jets: Why the team should target cornerback Shaquill Griffin
- NY Jets reportedly non-tendering linebacker Harvey Langi
- NY Jets: Why the team should not cut Jamison Crowder
- NY Jets should try to sign Kenny Golladay in free agency
- NY Jets: Jonnu Smith would be a smart free-agent target
For years, the Jets have been in search of a franchise quarterback and it’s very possible that they’ve landed that in Darnold. The USC product appeared in 13 games in 2016, throwing for 3,086 yards, 31 touchdowns and nine interceptions. In 2017, meanwhile, he threw for 4,143 yards, 26 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
There’s a lot to like about the California-raised slinger and quite frankly, it’s hard to hate this pick. Darnold has NFL size, a strong arm and the ability to make things happen when a play falls apart. There are, however, some concerns, specifically in regards to his turnovers and his throwing motion, but that can be fixed at the next level where he’ll be mentored by praised veteran Josh McCown.
Regardless, it’s safe to say that the Jets’ front office is ecstatic. Darnold ending up in the green and white never appeared to be a possibility and now it’s a reality. A reality, however, that likely wouldn’t have been possible had the Jets stayed at No. 6. Because of this, Maccagnan’s blockbuster trade has been justified, as the Jets are now the proud owner of a high-level prospect who could serve as the face of the franchise for years to come.
In other words, the move paid off – at least for now. The fanbase appears to be happy and Maccagnan has likely earned himself some more job security, but the real result won’t be seen for a few years.
Initially, it seems as if the Jets got it right, but the pressure will now be on Darnold to perform. How he plays over the next few years will determine whether or not the move up, which did cost quite a bit, was the correct one to make. If he lives up to the hype, Maccagnan will be idolized. And if not, Darnold will end up as just another Jets QB bust on a long list of them.
Only time will tell, but as of this moment, the future, for once, appears to be bright for Gang Green.