Jets GM: 'Fair' to Say Jets Will Target QB at No. 2 After Sam Darnold Trade

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVApril 6, 2021

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 25: General manager Joe Douglas of the New York Jets speaks to the media at the Indiana Convention Center on February 25, 2020 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) *** Local Capture *** Joe Douglas
Michael Hickey

New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas isn't fully tipping his hand ahead of the 2021 NFL draft, but he's not afraid to state the obvious.

The Jets announced Monday they traded Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers for three draft picks, leaving many to believe they'll target a quarterback with the No. 2 overall selection this year.

"I think that's a fair assessment to say," Douglas told reporters of the speculation. "I think based on the decision we made yesterday, you can kind of see the direction we're heading."

For the moment, James Morgan and Mike White are the two quarterbacks on New York's projected depth chart. The best free-agent signal-callers are off the board, and the Darnold trade may have ruled out the acquisition of an elite option since the 23-year-old would presumably have been included in any outgoing package.

That leaves the draft as the best way for Douglas to find a new starter, and the Jets are poised to get one of the top prospects on the board. Clemson's Trevor Lawrence is all but guaranteed to go No. 1 to the Jacksonville Jaguars, but that still leaves New York with a lot of options.

Ohio State's Justin Fields is the No. 2 overall player behind Lawrence on the B/R Big Board 2.0, but BYU star Zach Wilson has emerged as the likely target for the Jets.

Get Up @GetUpESPN

It appears the Jets have now locked in to a QB at the No. 2 spot in the draft. Is there any question left that it will be Zach Wilson?@AdamSchefter: "I sent him a text yesterday. I said, 'Welcome to New York, Zach, officially.'" pic.twitter.com/jOnJavVlzR

Douglas remained coy regarding that rumor:

Jets Videos @snyjets

Joe Douglas on Steve Young's report that the Jets are "committed" to taking Zach Wilson:<br><br>"Steve's plugged in to BYU pretty well" pic.twitter.com/16SrQWBdWF

Trading Darnold was understandable. His development stagnated under former head coach Adam Gase, and making a clean break was probably in the best interest of both parties. Getting a 2020 sixth-round pick in addition to a second- and fourth-rounder in 2022 was a solid haul under the circumstances, too.

But the pressure is on Douglas and the front office to identify the right successor. If things don't work out, then he might not have the chance to find the next franchise quarterback-to-be.