New York Jets: Grading the rookie season of Sam Darnold

(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) /

The New York Jets spent a lot to move up and get Sam Darnold in the 2018 NFL Draft. Let’s take a final look at his rookie campaign.

When the New York Jets traded their first three picks and their 2019 second-round pick to move up to No. 3 overall, there was a lot of talk about who they’d pick. When the Browns took Baker Mayfield, and the Giants took Saquon Barkley, that left little doubt that the Jets would take Sam Darnold.

That got the fans were excited. Not because they were expecting big things from the team, but because they finally had someone they could get behind at quarterback.

They opened up the season on Monday Night Football, and wowed the fans with a lopsided victory over the Lions and Darnold played well. However, that would not be a harbinger of things to come for the rookie signal caller.

Darnold would make typical rookie mistakes, like locking on to receivers and holding on to the ball too long. However, his season was marred by a terrible offensive line, a bad running game, and receivers who couldn’t create separation.

An injury came just at the right time. He got to watch Josh McCown from the sidelines, and he seemed to pick things up while he was watching, because when he returned, he began to develop some chemistry with rookie tight end Chris Herndon and Robby Anderson.

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Even though the Jets finished 1-3 down the stretch, Darnold looked like he was beginning to turn things around, and he looked like the franchise quarterback we can hang our hats on. It was a roller coaster ride this season, but the arrow seems to be pointing up if the team can put the necessary pieces around him to succeed.

It was a bumpy ride, some self-inflicted and some not. Final Grade: C+