May 14, 2018
By Rodney Harris
It was an eventful 2018 NFL Draft for the New York Jets. Taking Sam Darnold as their number 3 overall pick, who ESPN analyst Todd McShay believes, is the best quarterback in this draft class. Lets just say the New York Jets certainly made the right decision.
Darnold showed so much to the college world at his time in USC: great foot work, strong mechanics, and a very good football IQ. He was ranked 3rd overall in Heisman Trophy hopefuls in 2017. He may not have the arm of Josh Allen or the accuracy of a Baker Mayfield, but he has the potential to be an all-pro. This is something you don’t see in Allen and Mayfield. He is only 20 years old, and still has a lot to learn. Surely, Darnold has a strong moxie that will help him become a great quarterback for the Jets. The one thing that Jets fans need to understand is that patience is key. There is no reason for Darnold to start right away. Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater are still on the roster.
Is there any better of a situation for Sam Darnold to be in? Don’t throw this young man to the wolves. Let him develop. Unfortunately with a big up side, comes some learning curves. Sam posted 22 turnovers last season (13 interceptions and 9 fumbles). So, it is fair to say ball security is a problem. In Sam Darnold’s defense, he didn’t have the best offensive line last year at USC. At this current moment, the Jets do not have the best offensive line to protect Sam right now either. Some tune-ups need to be made before Sam touches the field.
Third and Fourth Rounds
Sam Darnold may have been the highlight of the draft, but the Jets did fill some team needs as well. In the 3rd round with the 72nd pick, the Jets took Nathan Shepherd defensive tackle out of Fort Hays State. He stands at 6 foot- 4 inches tall and 315 pounds. He is a big body up the middle to stop the run. Sure, the Jets do have Leonard Williams, but they traded Sheldon Richardson who was full of off-the-field problems (year after year). What a great way to let Williams take the leading role and have a young stud in Shepherd learn the speed of the NFL at his own pace.
In the 4th round with the 107th pick, the Jets also took Chris Herndon tight-end out of Miami. In my opinion, the tight-end position for the Jets is very important. The Jets let Austin Seferian – Jenkins walk to Jacksonville. He was one of the best receivers last season for the Jets. So, drafting Chris Herndon means he needs to be productive. He is coming back from an MCL tear, and hopefully he can come back strong. He stands at 6 foot 4 inches tall and has a big frame of 253 pounds. He can be a safety blanket for any quarterback in between the numbers, especially Sam Darnold.
The Jets ended the 6th round of the 2018 draft by having three picks. Pick number 5 was Parry Nickerson, who is a defensive-back out of Tulane. This young man stands at 6 feet tall, and 175 pounds. He is quick on his feet, and is very physical in man-to-man coverage. He is just the weapon this Jets defense needs. Right after this pick, the Jets took Folorunso Fatukasi, who is a defensive lineman out of Connecticut. He stands at 6 foot 4 inches and 318 pounds. He is another big body up the middle to stop the run. I can see this young man working hard in training camp, but falling short to make the roster. Now, for the last pick in the 2018 draft, the Jets took Trenton Cannon, a running-back out of Virginia State. Cannon is a very small back. He is only 5 foot 11 inches and weighs 185 pounds. He has a hard time pushing through contact. He will find himself handling kick returns or he will be on the outside looking in from the practice squad.
So, there you have it folks. The future starts now. Mini camp just opened up and we will see how all of these plays pan out. Remember Jets fans, it is only the beginning. There is nothing but time on our side. So take it one snap at a time, for there should be many great things to come.