USC is terrible for producing quarterbacks as the New York Jets got it wrong drafting Sam Darnold with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
On Thursday night, I was gitty for the 2018 NFL Draft to begin because of the chance the New York Jets had for to draft a potential franchise-changing quarterback.
As I sat there and watched the Jets select University of Southern California quarterback Sam Darnold, I instantly had doubts while others were thrilled the Jets drafted “the best quarterback” in the draft. I want to believe Darnold is worth the move up from the 6th selection to the 3rd selection but I do have my doubts.
Darnold played two years at USC where he compiled a 20-4 record and led the Trojans to a 2016 Rose Bowl victory over Penn State. Coming into the 2017 season, the slogan “Suck for Sam” was created among media and Jets fans as they were coming off a last-place finish in the AFC East at 5-11.
In 2017, Darnold’s play declined as he finished tied with an FBS worst 22 turnovers. Darnold has all the potential in the world to become a solid or even Pro Bowl quarterback but the turnovers and overall decision make me question that thought.
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USC has not had a lot of success with their quarterbacks transitioning from the college game to the NFL in recent years. Matt Leinart, Matt Barkley, and Mark Sanchez were all successful Trojan signal callers but could not find sustained success in the NFL. That string of bad luck from Trojan signal callers worries me that Darnold could become another victim of the USC hype.
The Jets now have five quarterbacks on the roster with Darnold, Josh McCown, Teddy Bridgewater, Christian Hackenberg, and Bryce Petty. Hackenberg and Petty are general manager Mike Maccagnan’s picks that have not found success in the league.
Hackenberg hasn’t even attempted a pass in an NFL regular season game in the two years he has been in the league. With the selection of Darnold, Hackenberg and Petty are now on the chopping block to trim the quarterback room down to Darnold, McCown, and Bridgewater.
If Darnold is going to be successful in the NFL, he will need to spend a year on the bench behind last season’s starter, McCown, who was surprisingly impressive behind center. McCown has bounced around the NFL for over 10 years and will be able to teach Darnold how to have a long career in the league. McCown’s past failures are essential lessons for Darnold who is used to winning in Southern California.
Head coach Todd Bowles mentioned in the draft pick press conference via the Media Relations Department of the Jets the following on what’s next for Darnold:
“We’re not going to throw him in there but at the same time were not going to hold him back either …”
Just be careful Jets, the franchise can’t afford to have Mark Sanchez 2.0. Over 50 years of embarrassment and a seven-year playoff drought can’t continue. Darnold will be responsible for the futures of Maccagnan and Bowles.