Widely considered the top quarterback in this year's draft, Sam Darnold was surprisingly still on the board when the Jets selected at No. 3. General manager Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles both said they were excited about Darnold joining the Green & White during a Thursday night news conference and many NFL experts believe they have every right to be.
Check out what the pundits are saying:
Todd McShay, ESPN"The Jets had to like at least three of the quarterbacks in this class to trade up from No. 6 to No. 3. I was told Darnold was their top choice if he was there, and they had to be ecstatic the Browns (and Giants) passed on him. Darnold is the youngest quarterback in the first round, and he's been my favorite QB throughout the process. He's a magician in the pocket and has the even-keeled demeanor to succeed in New York, a good mentor in Josh McCown, and a great offensive coordinator in Jeremy Bates. The Jets are 31st in passer rating since 2009. This is a home run pick for the Jets."
Colin Cowherd, Fox Sports"The New York Jets, when Brady retires in two years – will have the quarterback who was No. 1 on virtually every other board not named Cleveland. Of my eight contacts that I use regularly in this league – head coaches, GMs, regional scouting directors – Darnold was No. 1 on every board. He was not a flawless prospect, but he is such a perfect fit for the New York Jets."
Mike Mayock, NFL.comThey can play him when he's ready to play. It's a little bit like Carson Wentz a couple years ago with the Eagles. He's the consummate playmaker, keeps his eyes up to extend the plays. The only downside: Ball security is an issue.
Andy Benoit, TheMMQB.comThe Jets traded a boatload to move up and draft a QB, and they didn't know which QB it'd be. Presumably, they never dreamed it'd be Darnold, whom many thought to be the best all-around quarterback in this draft. Darnold has a unique ability to make plays off-schedule, but it's always a crapshoot whether that translates to the NFL. As a rhythmic, pocket player (which is where consistent NFL success is found), he'll need some mechanical polishing, and not just in his throwing motion, which is awkward but not grossly flawed. He'll also need better weapons around him. The Jets have some important picks ahead of them in Rounds 3-7.
Chad Reuter, NFL.comNew York JetsDraft picks: USC QB Sam Darnold (No. 3 overall).
Day 1 grade: A
The skinny: The Jets gave up three second-round picks to move up three spots to find a quarterback. They might have gotten the top quarterback on their board with Darnold sitting there (though they wouldn't admit it if he wasn't their top QB). They paid a pretty high price to get him, but it's not franchise-killing if it doesn't work out. It was a good move that could become a great move.
Lorenzo Reyes, USA Today"After trading up three spots from No. 6, the Jets still might have had to settle for their quarterback pick. But with the Browns grabbing Baker Mayfield and the Giants passing on taking a passer, Todd Bowles and Co. might have snagged the best quarterback in the draft in Southern California's Sam Darnold. The Jets did give up a lot – swapping firsts and sending three second-round selections to the Colts – but if Darnold stabilizes the position, it will be well worth it."
Vinnie Iyer, The Sporting NewsDraft Winner
-Jets, for Landing Darnold
The Jets were attached to Darnold before the beginning of last season, when he was set to be the No. 1 overall pick while they were the absolute worst team in the NFL. It all lined up in the end, as the team desperately needed a rookie capable of handling the big-market spotlight. Darnold and Cleveland never felt like a good player-city match.