New York Jets franchise quarterback Sam Darnold knows what it's like to be a rookie in the Big Apple, so he dispensed some free advice to New York Giants first-round pick Daniel Jones.
"If I were to say anything to Daniel, I'd just say, 'Keep your head down and work, and be yourself, because if you do that, no one's gonna say anything about you, and if you don't make headlines, you'll be alright,'" he told Steve Serby of the New York Post.
Darnold added that playing his college ball at a high-profile program like USC made the transition to the New York market easier.
"New York doesn't scare me," he said. "Being in L.A. at USC, I think that definitely helped. Just understanding that I just gotta do my job every single day, and if I do that, then I'll be fine."
Jones is coming from a less high-profile college experience, playing for the Duke Blue Devils, a school far more obsessed with basketball than football. And Jones may also not even play in his rookie season, with Eli Manning still on the roster and expected to be the starter this season, per Mike Garafolo of NFL.com:
As Garafolo noted, when head coach Pat Shurmur previously insinuated there could be a quarterback battle this summer, he wanted Jones to know he needed to be ready to play at any given moment. But per that report, Manning remains the starter.
That will differ from Darnold, who was the starter for the Jets last season. He had an up-and-down campaign, throwing for 2,865 yards, 17 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in 14 games, completing 57.7 percent of his passes. The stats weren't great, and the young Jets went just 4-10 in his starts.
But Darnold showed promise, and with more weapons around in 2019—most notably running back Le'Veon Bell—expectations are high for the young quarterback in his second season. If nothing else, however, Darnold doesn't seem too bothered by the pressure.
"I'm gonna play with a lot more confidence," he said. "I know what to expect now. I've seen more defenses. There's just so much that goes into the first year of playing football, that you don’t really see it all in college."
"You gotta look at in simple terms, right?" he added. "You gotta complete the football and you can't turn the ball over. I think if I do those things, then I'll have one of those years where I make a little bit of a leap."