Now that the Jets have moved on from Sam Darnold, trading the quarterback to the Panthers on Monday, New York is in a position to make history.
Should the Jets pick a quarterback with the No. 2 pick of the NFL draft later this month—something that seems like a guarantee at this point—they'll become the first franchise since 1967 to select two quarterbacks in the top three overall picks in a four-year span.
Darnold was picked by Gang Green third overall in 2018 out of USC. The second quarterback off the board that year, after Cleveland snagged Baker Mayfield with the top pick, Darnold was viewed as New York's answer at the position.
Three years later, the 23-year-old is packing his bags for Carolina after struggling mightily under center in green and white. It wasn't entirely his fault. Much of the blame can (and will) be placed on his coaching staff for failing to facilitate Darnold's success in several different ways.
This is some risk involved in this move for the Panthers, as there's no way to know for sure if Darnold can figure out how to access his untapped potential with another team, but a fresh start for the quarterback certainly can't hurt.
Again, Darnold's departure opens the door for New York to take their next quarterback. In all likelihood, BYU's Zach Wilson will come off the board second overall later this month, starting a new era for Gang Green.
Wilson impressed in 2020, putting up some eye-catching numbers at BYU, before showcasing his abilities at his pro day not too long ago. With all the internal evaluations that general manager Joe Douglas and his staff have been conducting over the last several months, New York must be pretty confident with whoever they're taking at No. 2 in order to be willing to part ways with Darnold.
The future is unclear for New York, but it's safe to say picking Darnold third overall in 2018 didn't pan out for a variety of reasons. The next mission for this organization is to avoid needing to take yet another quarterback in the first round later this decade.
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