Where did Sam Darnold rank among rookie QB’s in 2018?
By Brent Clarke
Sam Darnold has New York Jets fans raving about his solid rookie performance. Where does he stand in comparison to the other rookie quarterbacks of 2018?
The New York Jets are in total rebuild mode after posting a horrendous four-win, 12-loss season. One bright side of the 2018 season was the poised play of rookie quarterback Sam Darnold.
Darnold took the reigns at quarterback and it seems like he may be the leader of the Jets for years to come. The USC product finished the 2018 season with 2,865 passing yards, 17 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions in 13 games started for the green and white.
Many onlookers see these numbers and think Darnold may not be the Jets guy. However, numerous elite quarterbacks came into the NFL and had decent rookie displays after being thrust into a starting NFL role year one. Darnold gives the Jets organization and the fans something to be hopeful for going into 2019.
Moreover, here are three reasons as to why Darnold will have a prosperous career with the Jets: Peyton Manning, Troy Aikman, John Elway.
According to NFL.com, Manning posted 28 interceptions in his rookie season, Aikman posted 18 interceptions in just 11 games his rookie year, and Elway also recorded more interceptions than touchdowns as he posted 14 interceptions his rookie season. Not many people have negative things to say about any of these Hall of Fame quarterbacks.
Darnold may not be Hall of Fame-ready yet in his young career, he is, however, a very imperturbable player and proved it time again in the 2018 season. Darnold never seemed shaken or rattled by a turnover or being down in points.
This is the kind of fight the Jets have been looking for.
Darnold proved himself to the world over the final four weeks of the season posting the highest quarterback rating during that timeframe. Darnold has a plethora of untapped potential, it’s just up to the Jets to utilize and develop it.
If the Jets put the right pieces around Darnold, he could flourish into something great in his second season. Just look at what the Los Angeles Rams, Philadelphia Eagles, and Chicago Bears did over the last few years. They went out and got playmakers, not just players, but individuals who would help the quarterback succeed. ‘
The Rams brought in guys like Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods to help quarterback Jared Goff, who many people doubted after a subpar rookie campaign. The Eagles traded for Jay Ajayi and signed Alshon Jeffrey to help Carson Wentz and eventually Nick Foles. Meanwhile, the Bears acquired Trey Burton, Tarik Cohen, Taylor Gabriel. Teams are finding ways to put studs around their quarterbacks of the future and the Jets are in a unique position to do the same this offseason.
But how does Darnold compare to his classmates of 2018?
I’ll be frank and say I was rooting for the Jets to draft Baker Mayfield. Mayfield proved why he was the first quarterback off the board posting 3,725 passing yards, 27 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in only 14 games played. The Oklahoma product came out the gates swinging and proved why he not only was a former Heisman trophy winner, but also the number one pick by the Cleveland Browns in 2018.
Josh Rosen of the Arizona Cardinals may have been the worst of the five quarterbacks drafted in 2018. Anthony Talarico of MSNSports called Rosen’s display in 2018 disastrous, which going by the numbers one can agree with.
Many NFL draft experts designated Rosen as the best pure passer in the 2018 draft. With all the problems going on in Arizona, it was hard for Rosen to display these talents, thus the 2,278 passing yards, 11 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions.
How about some not so friendly competition in the AFC East with the Buffalo Bills and Josh Allen? Allen actually surprised me, not with his throwing stats, but with how well he ran the ball. The Wyoming product ran for a whopping 631 yards placing second among rookie signal-callers behind Baltimore Ravens’ quarterback Lamar Jackson.
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Allen not only produced on the ground, but he did also pass for 2,074 yards, 10 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. I think it’s safe to say a rivalry has sparked between the two young quarterbacks and it will be amusing to watch these two go back and forth for years to come in the division.
As mentioned previously Lamar Jackson led rookie quarterbacks in rushing yards in 2018 with 695 yards on the ground. Not only was Jackson dynamic in the rushing game, but he also passed the ball accurately accumulating 1,201 passing yards, six touchdowns, and three interceptions.
The Lousiville product may not have passed the ball much, but he was the only starting rookie quarterback in last years playoff picture which speaks volume to his poise in being able to handle that much pressure at such a young age. Kevin Patra of “Around the NFL” believes the Ravens think Jackson will develop as a passer in the coming year.
At the end of the day, it’s safe to say the Darnold has a bright future with the team. If 2018 is anything to go off of, the Jets may have landed their franchise quarterback in a draft class full of intriguing options.