Breaking down the New York Jets' 2018 draft class:
Round 1, No. 3 overall: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
My take: Did the football gods, angry at the Jets for nearly a half-century, just extend an olive branch in the form of Sam Darnold? Maybe so. After weeks -- no, months -- of being linked to the Cleveland Browns with the No. 1 overall pick, Darnold fell into the Jets' pleading hands. With UCLA's Josh Rosen and Wyoming's Josh Allen still on the board, the Jets couldn't pass on the former USC star, who has the arm, legs and temperament to be a franchise quarterback. Darnold needs some seasoning, to be sure, but he's the safest quarterback prospect in the draft. The Jets didn't suck enough for Sam, as it turned out, but they got him anyway. The Darnold era has begun.
Oh, those turnovers: The Jets believe last season was an aberration for Darnold, who tied for the FBS lead with 22 turnovers -- 13 interceptions and nine fumbles. The last thing they need is another highly drafted USC quarterback with ball-security issues (see: Mark Sanchez). Darnold's 36 turnovers the past two seasons were five more than any other FBS player; SMU quarterback Ben Hicks was second with 31. Perhaps pressing because of huge expectations, Darnold was jittery in the pocket and made poor decisions in a few games last season. He got into some bad habits and he'll need to be coached out of them, which leads you to believe he could spend all or part of the season on the bench.
Big upside: After reading the turnover stats, you're probably wondering, "Why did they draft him?" A lot of reasons. He's a winner (20-4 as a starter). He has innate ability to find throwing windows before they open. He's accurate. He can extend plays. He thrives in clutch situations. He's respected by teammates. He's a gym rat. He has a laid-back, "What, me worry?" attitude, which will serve him well in New York. Don't get too caught up in the turnover stat. Matt Ryan also had 22 turnovers in his final season at Boston College and he went on to become the league MVP in 2016.
What's next: Barring trades, Day 2 will be relatively quiet. The Jets traded both second-round picks to the Indianapolis Colts a month ago, leaving them with a third-round choice (No. 71 overall). General manager Mike Maccagnan hinted he could go running back in the third round. Rashaad Penny (San Diego State) is a possibility. Defensive end and outside linebacker are key needs, too. With five quarterbacks on the roster, a trade can't be ruled out. Can't keep 'em all. Teddy Bridgewater, Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty face uncertain futures.