By: Logan Franz
The 2018 draft was called a draft with one of the deepest quarterback classes of recent memory and it produced five quarterbacks taken in the first round. Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield, Josh Rosen and Lamar Jackson. All of these except for Jackson have played in a game as a quarterback this season and over the next few weeks we’ll be analyzing these quarterbacks starting with the first to have started in a game, New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold.
Darnold is a fun quarterback to watch. However, after watching his week one and week two games, there is a distinct difference. Week one was by far his best game of the three he’s played and there’s reason for that. Week one, Darnold was on point and doing everything that he should be. He would hit open receivers in stride, he would extend plays and evade sacks which is a blessing given his offensive line.and he would go through his progressions which seems to be the big difference between week one and week two.
On many of Darnold’s early interceptions, he stares down his receiver and doesn’t search the field for an open receiver. He’ll stare at his receiver and wait for him to get open and this leads to interceptions when safeties and linebackers playing zone coverage can read the eyes of the quarterback and know exactly who he’s throwing to. His first pass was a pick six and is a result of that, as is his first interception thrown against the Dolphins. However, Darnold does a lot of things well.
Darnold is at his best when he is making his reads and trying to find an open receiver. It’s not a crime to throw the ball to your first read. In fact, when a play is drawn up and executed well, that’ll happen. But sometimes, a defensive back plays good coverage or the defense double teams your first option. In that situation, a quarterback needs to be able to improvise. That’s something that a lot of rookie quarterbacks learn as they gain more and more experience. To Darnold’s credit, he did that a lot in his first game which is very promising. But, every rose has it’s thorn and that’s what we saw in the weeks following.
Darnold’s rookie season is looking exactly how the Jets should have expected it to. It’s going to have its ups and downs but it’s meant to be a season of learning and growth for him. Darnold is supposed to be the face of the franchise and he’s bringing some hope into a franchise that hasn’t had any for decades.