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Jets 2018 Training Camp Profile: QB Sam Darnold

By Paul Harris
ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: Sam Darnold of USC poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell 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 with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell 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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Sam Darnold is going into training camp as the third-string option at quarterback. Whether this sustains until Week 1, is all up to him. Here’s his New York Jets training camp profile.

Todd Bowles has openly addressed the New York Jets quarterback situation, stating that Josh McCown will go in as the starter, but that does not mean he will come out as the starter by any means. The quarterbacks behind him, Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Darnold, are both huge question marks. Teddy has earned the reputation as a liability on the field until proven otherwise, and Darnold is a rookie who is so young, he was able to buy his first drink less than a month ago.

So what gives? McCown is 38 years old, Teddy is injury prone, so it must be the rookie’s job to lose right? Wrong. The Jets do not want to do what every bad franchise tends to do. You know, spend enormous draft capital on a quarterback, and feel pressured to throw him in early. This is why they surrounded Darnold with other competent quarterbacks, and are going to let Darnold have a chance to win the starting job.

2017 SEASON REVIEW

In Darnold’s final year at USC, he was able to complete 63.1 percent of his passes, along with throwing for 4,134 yards and 26 touchdowns. Although Darnold has received a lot of criticism for his turnovers, it’s justified as he threw 13 interceptions and lost nine fumbles just last year alone. Obviously, he was still drafted third overall for a reason, and in his last year of college, he showed the world exactly what he was capable of.

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2018 SEASON OUTLOOK

It is not a matter of if, but when we will see Darnold on the field. It would take a miraculous Jets season for Darnold to sit on the bench his entire rookie year.

McCown or Teddy would have to first win the starting job, and then continue to play well enough that they make the NFL Playoffs. Assuming this doesn’t happen, we will see Darnold possibly early in the season if he manages to win the starting job, or at least secure the backup quarterback spot.

If Darnold goes into the regular season even as the third string, the Jets have so much invested in him that they essentially will have no excuse but to let him at least feel the waters of the NFL and get some playing time under his belt. If the Jets were to have a losing record, you have to bet the bank that they will let Darnold play simply so it doesn’t turn into a completely lost season. We saw very recently where the Jets drafted a quarterback high (second round) and he is now off the team and didn’t throw one pass. This quarterback was Christian Hackenberg, and it’s expected the Jets to never let another situation like this happen again.

TRAINING CAMP PREDICTION

Darnold will obviously make the 53-man roster, it is just a matter of where he will see himself on the depth chart. Assuming McCown and Teddy also make the roster, expect Darnold to go into the regular season as the third-string quarterback. But expect to see him at some point during the year.

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