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Predicting when Darnold will eventually start for the Jets

By Luis Tirado Jr.
ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: Sam Darnold of USC poses after being picked #3 overall by the New York Jets during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium on April 26, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: Sam Darnold of USC poses after being picked #3 overall by the New York Jets during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium on April 26, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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It’s not a matter of if but when rookie quarterback Sam Darnold will start for the New York Jets this upcoming season. Here’s an early prediction as for when he’ll likely start for Gang Green.

When the New York Jets made quarterback Sam Darnold their future franchise quarterback by selecting him third overall in the 2018 NFL Draft, it came with extremely high expectations. It’s not easy being the next face of a pro football franchise but Darnold has everything he needs to thrive in the city that never sleeps. That is, of course, once he’s ready.

Darnold isn’t perfect but will get coached, trained, and mentored throughout the offseason heading into the regular season. It’s expected that Darnold will compete for the starting job in training camp and likely get a plethora of reps during preseason action. Could it be possible that Darnold lights it up during training camp and earns the starting quarterback spot for the Jets?

Of course, anything is possible as there is a reason why patience is key when it comes to Darnold and his transition into the pros. Ideally, Darnold has to work on cutting down his turnovers from both an interception and ball-handling standpoint and that will likely keep him in a backup role behind veteran quarterback Josh McCown once all is said and done.

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Considering that head coach Todd Bowles prefers to stick with veterans over starting young players who might not be ready yet it looks like McCown will get the nod to start. Unless he gets hurt in training camp or doesn’t play well at all in the upcoming quarterback competition, that’s the only way Darnold will likely land a starting role. In regards to Teddy Bridgewater, he realistically has a 50 percent chance of earning a backup role or likely not even making the final roster of the Jets depending on how he looks on the field.

Either way, McCown will more than likely start and play until Darnold is 100 percent ready to take over, which could take a few weeks into the regular season. Since the Jets invested so much in order to trade up in this year’s draft to be in a position to land a top quarterback, it only makes sense to play him once he’s ready now rather than wait too long. The truth of the matter is McCown can only go so far and since he’s back with the Jets on a one-year deal, means it’s a transition year for the Jets when it comes to the most important position on the team.

If one had to make a realistic prediction as to when Darnold will even get the first start of his pro career, it’s easy to say within a month or so into the regular season. McCown was brought back for a reason and that’s to hold the fort down and mentor Darnold until it’s time to let him begin a new era at quarterback. Since the Jets are still rebuilding for a brighter future, it’s time they changed things up and start Darnold once decision-makers feel he’s ready to lead this offense towards greater heights.

Overall, expect to see Darnold start by October since it should give him more than enough time to get acclimated to the Jets offensive playbook, his teammates, and give fans something to cheer for once he’s ready to run the show.

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