NFL.com believes that rookie quarterback Sam Darnold of the New York Jets is the league’s top newcomer.
The Sam Darnold era will begin on Monday night when the New York Jets take on the Detroit Lions. NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah ranked the Jets‘ rookie quarterback the league’s No. 1 newcomer entering Week 1.
Jets fans aren’t the only ones high on the team’s No. 3 overall pick in this year’s draft. On Thursday, NFL Network ranked Darnold as the leagues No. 1 newcomer entering Week 1 ahead of No.1 overall pick Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns and No. 2 overall pick Saquon Barkley of the New York Giants.
Head Coach Todd Bowles officially named Darnold the Week 1 starter on Monday after the rookie shined in the preseason showing great decision making, poise in the pocket, mobility, and accuracy.
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Darnold is looking to pick up right where he left off during the preseason in which he completed 29 of his 45 passes (64 percent) with two touchdowns and an interception in three preseason games.
“Darnold was the most impressive rookie passer in during the preseason,” Jeremiah wrote. He earned the starting job with his sound decision making, accuracy and mobility.” (Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com)
When he starts under center for the Jets on Monday night, Darnold will become the youngest opening day quarterback since the AFL-NFL merger at 21 years 97 days old. Drew Bledsoe held the previous record when he started his first game for the New England Patriots at 21 years 203 days in 1993.
Make no mistake, the Jets aren’t starting Darnold because they drafted him No. 3 after trading up from No. 6 to get him. They truly believe he’s ready and gives them the best chance to win. In an article written by the Associated Press, here is why Bowles went with Darnold over veteran quarterback Josh McCown:
“We feel like he gives us a good chance to win,” Bowles told reporters Monday. “We’re not starting him because he’s a rookie and he’s not ready. We’re starting him because he gives us a good chance to win the game.”
According to the Associated Press, of the five quarterbacks selected in the first round this year, Darnold was the only one named his team’s starter for the opener. Mayfield (Cleveland), Josh Allen (Buffalo), Josh Rosen (Arizona), and Lamar Jackson (Baltimore) will be backups.
After coming off of consecutive 5-11 seasons, the 2018 season is one of renewed hope for Jets fans with Darnold at the reigns. Only time will tell if Darnold is the savior Jets fans have been praying for over the years.
But for now, they are hopeful that the rookie is the real deal and the long-term answer at the quarterback position. Everything else aside, I think there’s one thing we can all agree on: Monday night can’t come soon enough.