Jets first-round selection Sam Darnold addressed the media today for the first time at One Jets Drive and touched on a number of different topics from his jersey number (TBD) and the Northeast to his play on the field. Below are five takeaways:
Simply put, Darnold is ready to get to work. As he was arriving at the facility Friday and drove by the fields, he said he wanted to go out there and start playing ball. He'll have a chance to buckle up the chinstrap next weekend during rookie minicamp.
"There's a ton of room for growth and that's the thing I'm really excited about," he said. "Just being 20 years old, I know there's a lot of room for growth, but I'm also very confident in my ability to go out there and play. With that being said, I'm going to do what the coaches ask me to do. I'm going to come in and learn right away and go about it that way."
Teacher and Student
When the USC product visited the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center on his pre-draft visit, he said he had an "amazing" feeling talking with the coaching staff, front office and players. Darnold is excited to start working with offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates, who immediately clicked with him during the visit.
"He's amazing," Darnold said. "I really like Coach Bates and what he's doing with this system, but I also like the way he teaches. On my visit here, I was able to sit in a meeting with him for a couple hours and just talk ball. It was really good to be able to talk with him about that, about his system and get a feel for how he coaches. I really like it."
Switch On vs. Switch Off
California cool, Darnold described his personality as having "quiet confidence," which came across as he fielded questions like a seasoned veteran. Stoic on the field and with the media, Darnold said his teammates consider him a funny, sarcastic guy but all business on the gridiron.
"I am who I am and however people want to define that, that's not really up to me," he said. "I'm just going to be myself. I think the best way to describe it is confident, but also know what needs to get done and being very serious when it comes to that."
Eyes on the Prize
Darnold may be young, but he has his focus set on the NFL's mountaintop.
"I think winning a Super Bowl is everyone's goal entering a season whether I'm a backup or a starting quarterback," he said. "Everyone on the team wants to win a Super Bowl. That's the goal for everyone. Anything short of that is a failure and we're aware of that. Whatever my role is, I'm going to star in that role to work best towards that Super Bowl."
Darnold, whose sister went to the University of Rhode Island, visited the East Coast once before as a sophomore in high school. He made it a point to clarify it was during the winter and he loved it, but added he may have to get used to the possibility of throwing with gloves on.
"She's told me all about the seasons and everything," Darnold said. "It's been really fun learning from her experience and understanding a little bit of what it's going to be like out here."
Go All Access with QB Sam Darnold on His First Day at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center