The Jets are putting a lot of hope in Sam Darnold, but his first NFL practice apparently wasn’t too good.
The New York Jets traded up to the third overall pick in this year’s draft, clearly with an eye on getting a quarterback. Sam Darnold wound up being their guy, after he fell a couple picks.
Darnold entered the draft process with concerns about propensity for turnovers, after throwing 13 interceptions during his final season at USC. The Jets’ rookie minicamp started on Friday, with Darnold of course the center of attention as he began working with some new teammates comprised of fellow draft picks and undrafted free agents trying to stick.
Another quarterback who the Jets drafted in the first round, Mark Sanchez, became turnover-prone over the course of his career with a notable “butt fumble” when he ran into an offensive lineman. Christian Hackenberg, a second-round pick in 2016, has yet to play in a regular season game and his throwing motion is being rebuilt due to how erratic he has been in practice alone.
Darnold does not have a great standard to live up to in Jets’ quarterbacking history, and time will tell if he is the long-term answer. But based on his initial practice results, it’s possible he has already caught the franchise’s long-running quarterback jinx.
Darnold fumbled his very first snap as a Jets’ quarterback, and followed with two more botched snaps during the practice session. But as ESPN’s Rich Cimini cited in his takeaways, and should be obvious, one rookie minicamp practice is not enough to make any statements about Darnold’s future. Even with experience playing on big stages in college, a first NFL practice can surely bring some nerves into play too.
Darnold will be given a chance to compete for the starting job in training camp. If he’s still fumbling snaps and airmailing throws at that point, with NFL talent around him, then some real concern about his readiness to play right away could come.