Sam Darnold Can Win Jets' Starting QB Job, Todd Bowles Says

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistMay 4, 2018

New York Jets first round pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Friday, May 4, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Julio Cortez/Associated Press

The New York Jets traded up to No. 3 in the 2018 NFL draft and took Sam Darnold to be the face of the franchise for years to come.

Whether the former USC Trojans star starts on Day 1 is up to him.

Per ESPN's Dianna Russini, New York coach Todd Bowles noted that veteran Josh McCown enters offseason workouts as the team's starting quarterback but made it clear it's an open competition—meaning Darnold could win the job if he impresses enough between now and Sept. 10. 

When asked about Darnold's debut at rookie minicamp, Bowles had some fun, via Dennis Waszak Jr. of the Associated Press:

Some coaches believe in having rookies sit in order to learn from watching before being thrown into action. In this situation, the Jets are going to let the best quarterback play.

Not only did New York re-sign McCown and draft Darnold this offseason, but it also signed former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and also has former second-round pick Christian Hackenberg on the roster.

It's a crowded quarterback room, but that type of competition should force the best out of each passer.

As reported by ESPN's Rich Cimini, Darnold's focus right now is on learning the playbook, not winning the starting job. He knows that just because he's the No. 3 overall pick doesn't mean everything will just be handed to him.

"You have to come in here and earn respect," Darnold said, via Cimini. "I'm not going to come in here and demand it. "I just have to come in here understanding the position I'm in. I'm a rookie—I understand that—but at the same time, I'm a quarterback, and I have to be a leader on the field and off it as well."

The biggest knock on Darnold coming out of college is his inability to protect the football, throwing 22 interceptions and committing 21 fumbles in two seasons. If that trend continues this summer, he will face an uphill battle to beat out the competition.

However, if he limits his turnovers and displays impressive accuracy, don't be surprised if Darnold lines up under center in Week 1.

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