Former NY Jets players help the team improve draft position

NY Jets, Sam Darnold
NY Jets, Sam Darnold / Grant Halverson/GettyImages

The NY Jets are once again slated to have 10 picks in the 2022 NFL Draft next April. And on Sunday, they received a bit of help when it comes to draft position.

The Jets may not have played this week, but that doesn't mean there weren't those who had a few rooting interests in minds. With the Jets owning premium draft capital from both the Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers, many were cheering for losses in their respective games.

Those wishes came true with the Panthers falling to the Minnesota Vikings by a final score of 34-28 in overtime. Meanwhile, the Seahawks also lost in overtime, this one coming at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football.

And in both games, it was the play of former Jets players (both directly and indirectly) that contributed to their team's losses. They may not be on the Jets anymore, but that doesn't mean they aren't still helping the team out.

Sam Darnold, Geno Smith and others helped the NY Jets out on Sunday

It wasn't an encouraging day for Sam Darnold who struggled for the second consecutive week in the absence of Christian McCaffrey. Darnold finished 17-of-41 (41%) for 201 yards, a touchdown, an interception, and a fumble at a crucial point in the game.

Although he did lead the Panthers on a fourth-quarter scoring drive to force overtime, his poor play throughout the game was part of the reason they were in that position, to begin with.

Darnold now leads the NFL in combined interceptions and fumbles, ahead of rookies Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson. With McCaffrey sidelined for at least another couple of weeks, the Jets will be keeping a close eye on high Darnold performs.

Remember, the Jets own Carolina's second and fourth-round picks in this year's draft as a result of the Darnold trade. A Panthers team that was once 3-0 has now fallen to 3-3 with their second-round pick falling nicely to pick No. 46 overall.

Darnold wasn't the only former Jets player who aided in Carolina's loss, however. Wide receiver Robby Anderson continued his difficult start to the 2021 season dropping at least three passes and finishing with just three catches for 11 yards on a whopping 11 targets.

Darnold and Anderson handicapped the Panthers' offense on Sunday and helped the Jets gain draft position.

As for the Seahawks game, it's hard to put this one as much on Geno Smith. Smith got the start with Russell Wilson sidelined for the foreseeable future and he played about as well as anyone could have expected him to play.

The former second-round pick finished 23-of-32 for 209 yards and a touchdown. Unfortunately, it was his critical fumble in overtime that ultimately set the Steelers up for the victory, thereby securing the Jets a better draft pick.

It wasn't just Smith, though. Safety Jamal Adams didn't exactly have a banner night and his dropped interception in the fourth quarter perhaps cost his team a chance at winning in regulation.

On top of that, right tackle Brandon Shell was beaten soundly all game by Steelers star pass rusher T.J. Watt. This is T.J. Watt we're talking about, but that doesn't change the fact that Shell's poor performance helped the Jets gain important draft position.

So where does that leave the Jets now? At the moment, they're slated to have two top-10 picks and four total in the top-50 (No. 6, No. 10, No. 38, No. 46). It's still early, but that's some impressive draft capital.

Every game counts when it comes to draft position. Fortunately, these former Jets players did their jobs on Sunday and indirectly helped their former team out.

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Respect goes out to Sam Darnold, Geno Smith, and others for their selfless actions.