The New York Jets should see marked improvement from quarterback Sam Darnold in his second season, thanks to the hard work he’s putting in this offseason.
The No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft, New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold showed flashes of brilliance throughout his rookie season that made it easy to see why the team used such a high selection on him.
Darnold also took his rookie lumps last year, and understandably so.
Still, heading into his second NFL season, Darnold wants to smooth out those rough edges in his game, relying less on his arm and bringing the rest of his body along into being a more complete quarterback from a technique and mechanics standpoint (via team senior reporter Eric Allen):
I think being able to step to my target and getting my target line right is something that I’ve always wanted to work on. (It’s) something that I’m definitely working on this season because I think you can notice my rookie year, I used a lot of my arm. I feel like I’m capable of doing that, but I want to steer away from that as much as I can.
I want to use my legs as much as I can to be able to thread balls in there, so that I’m not putting so much stress on my shoulder and my elbow because it’ll help me down the road in terms of shoulder being sore and elbow being sore. That’s kind of where I want to head towards and that’s really what I’m trying to work on this offseason.
Darnold’s arm talent was already NFL-ready during his time at USC, but that can be a double-edged sword for a young quarterback. The NFL game is on a completely different level in terms of speed, athleticism and intelligence when compared to even the best college football programs, and even the slightest glitch in a quarterback’s throwing motion can be enough to give a defender the chance to make a play on the ball.
There were plenty of reasons for Jets fans to get excited about the future with Darnold last season, but after a full offseason working to improve his technique, as well as many workouts to build chemistry with his teammates, he should make a huge leap in his second season.
Considering the talent that was added around him this offseason, on both sides of the ball, Darnold should have the Jets challenging for a playoff spot for the first time in eight years, rather than languishing in the NFL cellar yet again.