The last quarterback to take the New York Jets to the playoffs thinks that Clemson is currently a better situation for Trevor Lawrence then the team that might take him No. 1 overall next spring.
Mark Sanchez, who led the Jets to consecutive AFC Championship Game appearances beginning in 2010, doesn’t think that Sam Darnold is washed-up. Speaking one day before before the Jets 18-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, Sanchez thinks Darnold can be the team’s long-awaited franchise quarterback.
But, he also thinks the drumbeat for Lawrence will only grow louder over the coming weeks. Lawrence is the consensus top pick in the NFL Draft and the 0-7 Jets currently hold the top pick.
“Of course it’s going to happen because that’s the next sexy pick that is available. But it’s the same rule. I don’t care how good your quarterback is, he can only do so much,” Sanchez said on ESPN’s ‘Now from Home.'
“It’s the toughest position in all of sports but it is also the most dependent position on the rest of the group position in all of sports. You need other players to make your job easier. It doesn’t work like that. If you put Trevor in that situation right now -
“Trevor is on a better team currently then he would be if he got put on the Jets. It doesn’t help his cause. It doesn’t help the franchise win games. What helps the franchise is building around that young quarterback, whoever he might be.”
In Sunday’s loss, Darnold was 12-of-23 for 120 yards and an interception. It was his first game back after missing two games with a shoulder sprain.
The winless Jets and Darnold’s lack of development in his third season in the league doesn’t fall entirely on the young quarterback. The Jets are lacking playmakers and the offensive line, though rebuilt, is still subpar.
Against the Bills, Darnold was sacked six times. It is impossible to mature and develop as a quarterback when constantly on your backside.
“Absolutely dealt a bad hand but listen, they have to get him some talent. They got to follow the Buffalo Bills model of drafting a young quarterback, letting him play early – like they did. Then they have to acquire around that quarterback to make him successful. Look what they did in free agency with Stefon Diggs,” Sanchez said.
“Then also Cole Beasley, John Brown. They’re giving him offensive weapons and fire power to play with. If you don’t do that, I don’t know what you can expect out of somebody like Sam Darnold. Even still, he’s showing flashes of making big-time plays and shown he has the ability to lead a franchise. Now once the GM that drafted you departs from that team, I’ve been in that situation, really there are no rules. Anything can happen. Anything goes, it’s all fair in love and war. He might just go to another franchise that values him as a player and builds around him – which would be great for Sam personally.”
Sanchez is currently an ESPN analyst, joining former head coach Rex Ryan and former teammate Damien Woody at the worldwide leader.