Exclusive: Colin Cowherd Likes Sam Darnold but Worries About the New York Jets Organization

Kristian Dyer

Sam Darnold has one believer in Colin Cowherd, the national Fox Sports personality who thinks that the New York Jets have a true talent in the young quarterback. There are concerns, however, from Cowherd that the Jets won’t be able to maximize his talent.

Cowherd has frequently defended Darnold, who is now in his third NLF season. A popular personality on FS1 as well as host of ‘The Herd’ on Fox Sports Radio, Cowherd is not shy in saying that he thinks Darnold can develop into a quality NFL quarterback.

Even after a difficult season opening loss at the Buffalo Bills, Cowherd tells Sports Illustrated’s Jets Country that all the tools are there for Darnold to mature.

“He’s a playmaker, he plays with a feel. He can move, he can throw. Some of the stuff he can do you can’t coach,” Cowherd said in his exclusive interview.

“Now he’s going to have to overcome the dysfunction of the Jets much the same Joe Burrow is having to do that with Cincinnati. But there’s a playmaker ability. He can be a little loose at times but that’s what good coaching is for.”

There is reason for concern about Darnold’s performance in Sunday’s 27-17 loss at the Bills. The 23-year old quarterback, after an offseason of hype, was 21-of-35 for 215 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Their first three Jets possessions were three-and-outs. Their fourth possession resulted in a punt after the Jets managed one first down. Their fifth drive ended with a Darnold interception.

Darnold showed significant growth and development in the second half of last season, throwing 13 touchdowns against four interceptions in the Jets final eight games.

For four decades, the Jets have been looking for a replacement for Joe Namath as a true franchise quarterback upon which to build their franchise. Recently, they have pinned those hopes on Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith and Chad Pennington among others.

Cowherd’s concern is not due to Darnold as much as it comes from the infrastructure and the ability of the Jets to take the talented Darnold and elevate him to the next level. The Jets have not made the playoffs since 2010 and have just a single winning record since then.

There is also the team’s noted inability to develop and keep young talent.

“Yea, I mean I think he’s the best prospect of those that [have] been mentioned. He’s a little better of an athlete,” Cowherd said.

“The players really liked him at USC. He’s tough, he’s got requisite size and I do think Joe Douglas is more than capable general manager but this is an organization with a lot of fissures and a lot of angst. Jamal Adams couldn’t get a lot of Gase. C.J. Mosley has now opted out. Le’Veon Bell is now not healthy. It’s just one thing after another.

“I think even for a Hall of Fame level guy like Eli Manning, those first three or four years are really vital – to get into a rhythm, to get into a good support system. You have to be a really unique talent to overcome that. And I think Darnold’s good but I don’t think he’s Andrew Luck as a prospect.”

In addition to his daily show, which airs on FS1 and Fox Sports Radio, Cowherd is also a contributor to FOX NFL Kickoff. He is also a noted cheerleader for all things Rhode Island.

He can be followed on Twitter here.

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