FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) The New York Jets kicked off the NFL draft by getting their quarterback of the future – who might actually be the face of the franchise right now.
After taking Southern California quarterback Sam Darnold at No. 3 overall on Thursday night and Fort Hays State defensive lineman Nathan Shepherd in the third round Friday night, general manager Mike Maccagnan went to work on the draft’s final day to fill some sizable roster holes.
New York took Miami tight end Christopher Herndon in the fourth round at No. 107 overall. After all the wheeling and dealing, the Jets capped the draft with three sixth-rounders: Tulane cornerback Parry Nickerson, UConn defensive tackle Foley Fatukasi and Virginia State running back Trenton Cannon.
”We feel we have some good young players,” Maccagnan said. ”There are some guys we felt good (about) in our process. We like them both from an ability standpoint and we feel like we have some good character guys, too.”
But this draft will be remembered – and ultimately, judged – on what Darnold does.
No quarterback has ever been selected higher by the Jets in an NFL draft, and New York felt fortunate Darnold was still there when it went on the clock. After all, Darnold had long been considered a likely No. 1 overall pick by Cleveland, which ended up taking Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield instead. When the Giants went with Penn State running back Saquon Barkley at No. 2, the Jets had their guy.
”Sam … man, oh, man … I did not think we would have a shot at you,” acting CEO Christopher Johnson said during his phone call with Darnold after the team drafted the quarterback. ”I’m so happy. Dude, you’re gonna love New York.”
And New Jersey too, of course. Heck, Jets fans everywhere couldn’t help but feel giddy about Darnold holding up his green-and-white jersey.
Darnold was formally introduced at the team’s facility Friday after spending Thursday night in Dallas at the draft site. On Saturday, the new Jets quarterback surprised some young fans by visiting a pediatric hospital in New Jersey and posing for photos and signing autographs.
While Josh McCown, last year’s starter, is still here, it might not be long before Darnold – the cool and poised kid from California – takes center stage in the Big Apple.
”I’m very confident,” Darnold said. ”It’s more of a quiet confidence. I am who I am and however people want to define that, that’s not really up to me. I’m just going to be myself. The best way to describe it is confident, but also knowing what needs to get done and being very, very serious when it comes to that.”
Source: Fox Sports