Sam Darnold has had a tumultuous start to his career with the New York Jets, and 2019 was no different when he contracted mono and missed a chunk of the regular season. Despite missing three games last year, he still tallied 3024 yards, 19 touchdowns, and threw 13 interceptions.
He played only 30 snaps more in 2018, and while his numbers donâ€™t reflect a significant improvement, he did see his completion percentage increase from 57.7 to 61.9%. He threw two more touchdowns and two fewer interceptions in year two in the NFL, indicating a minuscule improvement across-the-board. However, going into year three, Darnold needs to take a significant leap forward to prove that he can be Jets’ franchise quarterback.
The New York Jets took big steps forward this offseason:
General manager Joe Douglas made it a priority to bolster the offensive line and contribute veteran signings to help Darnold in his quest. He turned over their entire protection scheme, signing tackle George Fant, guard Greg Van Roten, and center Conner McGovern. He also drafted Mekhi Becton out of Louisville with the 11th overall pick. The only player that will remain the same on the line is Brian Winters at right guard. That is a substantial positive for Darnold, considering he was sacked 33 times last season in 13 games.
In addition to this retooling, Douglas also signed veteran running back Frank Gore and former Super Bowl MVP, Joe Flacco. Both players have the experience and knowledge to help Darnold progress as an NFL player. It is also a good contingency plan considering he has missed three games in his first two seasons in the NFL.
Ultimately, the Jets have done a lot to help Darnold to see it moving forward. The drafting of Denzel Mims out of Baylor and the return of tight and Chris Herndon should be significant in his development. With the defense returning to full health and the offense gaining multiple new starters, the Jets should be confident in their quarterback.