The NY Jets will have quite the important decision to make with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft this year. In many ways, their decision will determine the direction the team plans to take the organization for the foreseeable future.
Do they stick with Sam Darnold despite three years of lackluster play? Or do they opt to select his replacement and agree to cut their losses?
It’s a fascinating discussion — one that everyone seems to have an opinion on. One such individual is ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper.
Kiper has long remained in Darnold’s corner insisting that it would be a mistake for the Jets to move on from the former No. 3 overall pick. He’s even gone as far as to project the Jets don’t draft a quarterback in every one of his mock drafts this offseason.
At least up until now.
Mel Kiper finally has the NY Jets drafting a quarterback
For the first time this offseason, Kiper’s latest mock draft has the Jets selecting a quarterback with the second overall pick. Kiper mocked the Jets BYU quarterback Zach Wilson and finally believes that the Jets will draft a QB this year.
Not only has Kiper insisted that the Jets should keep Darnold, but he’s suggested that they will in each of his mocks leading up to this point. Instead, he’s had the Jets selecting a variety of players with their initial first-round pick, perhaps the wildest being Florida tight end Kyle Pitts.
If his mocks are meant to predict what will actually happen, it’s hard to take that choice seriously, no matter how talented of a player Pitts is.
Darnold is coming off a disastrous 2020 season that saw him finish with just nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 12 games. He completed under 60 percent of his passes while averaging an abysmal 6.1 yards per attempt.
Darnold was very possibly the worst starting quarterback in the NFL a year ago, even getting outplayed by a 35-year-old Joe Flacco.
His talent has never been in question, and it wasn’t very long ago that Darnold was considered one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL. But after what the organization saw in 2020, it’s hard to feel optimistic about his future.
Especially given that he’ll essentially have one year to turn things around. His soon-to-expire rookie contract is one of the greatest reasons that many believe the Jets should and will move on from Darnold.
It remains to be seen what they will actually do come next month. But one of Darnold’s staunchest supporters is officially off the bandwagon.