NY Jets: Sam Darnold’s supporting cast ranked as one of NFL’s worst
By Justin Fried
NY Jets’ quarterback Sam Darnold hasn’t had the most accomplished supporting casts in his NFL career.
The NY Jets haven’t exactly done their best to surround quarterback Sam Darnold with adequate offensive talent through his first two professional seasons. And while many fans hope that will change in 2020, that remains a major question mark.
From an abysmal offensive line to lackluster receivers to subpar coaching staffs, Darnold has been put through the figurative wringer through his first two NFL campaigns.
Fortunately, general manager Joe Douglas seemed to make building the offense around Darnold a priority in his first offseason with the team. But there is undoubtedly still plenty of work to be done.
That’s evidenced by Bleacher Report’s recent rankings of every quarterback in the NFL’s supporting cast. Unsurprisingly, the Jets ranked towards the very bottom of the league.
Only the Washington Redskins and Jacksonville Jaguars had supporting casts that ranked lower than the Jets who came in at a measly 30th out of 32 teams.
The good news? They ranked 31st last year. Improvement!
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Why was the NY Jets’ supporting cast ranked so low?
The author, Kristopher Knox, was complimentary of the second-round selection of Denzel Mims who he referred to as “a potential future No. 1 receiver.” However, he was far less enthusiastic about the rest of the team’s offense.
He called the likes of Jamison Crowder, Breshad Perriman, and Josh Doctson “complementary receivers even on their best days” and referred to the team’s tight end group as “underwhelming.”
While some of his claims are fair, it seems he’s underselling Crowder and the tight ends a bit here. Grouping Crowder in with the other two diminishes the fact that he is one of the better slot receivers in the NFL and a very capable receiving threat.
Is he a so-called “complementary receiver”? Sure, I suppose. But he’s a quality NFL starter who provides value to any offense. The same can’t be confidently said about either Perriman or Doctson at this point.
Meanwhile, referring to the tight end group as “underwhelming” seems very premature. If Chris Herndon could come back healthy, there’s a chance he’s a top-10 tight end by the end of the year.
After a very promising rookie season, the former fourth-round pick missed all of last season with a suspension and multiple injuries. But his talent is certainly too great to call “underwhelming,” especially when you throw in reliable receiving threat Ryan Griffin.
Knox did have some valid points about the lackluster running game, however, and the fact that Darnold has yet to reach his full potential “largely due to a lack of adequate support.”
Ultimately, it’s difficult to argue that the Jets deserve to be much higher on this list. But the team’s tight ends are likely better than they’re being given credit for and the same goes for Crowder.
Here’s to hoping that Darnold’s supporting cast exceeds expectations and helps him out more in 2020.