New York Jets Bilal Powell
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

New York Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold is clearly the future of the team. Here’s why he will thrive on the Island of Misfit Toys.

We all know that former USC star and current New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold is filet mignon. He’s from the top of the food chain. A California quarterback with rockstar hair, great intangibles, and a freaking laser beam attached to his shoulder.

To a casual NFL fan if they looked at what the New York Jets have at the skill positions they would say Darnold is surrounded by trash. That would be an epic oversight.

While I admit, there aren’t multiple first-round picks available for Darnold to throw the pigskin to. But just because someone didn’t come with a silver spoon in their mouth, doesn’t mean they aren’t a worthy talented player.

New York Jets wide receivers:

  • Quincy Enunwa (sixth round, Nebraska)
    • A late-round tweener prospect has developed himself into a versatile player. But let’s be honest, he’s coming off of neck surgery from this offseason. That’s a hard thing to come back from.
  • Robby Anderson (undrafted, Temple)
    • A speedster who got no sniffs from NFL teams during the draft, but the Jets took a flier on him in the PFA (priority free agent) market. He has developed beyond the Jets wildest dreams.
  • Jermaine Kearse (undrafted, Washington)
    • Not only was he an undrafted signee by the Seattle Seahawks, but he was a ‘throw-in’ in that Sheldon Richardson deal. Or at least that’s what my Seahawks source called it at the time. Kearse had career-highs last season in receptions, yards, and touchdowns.
  • Terrelle Pryor (third round, Ohio State)
    • While he was a ‘third round’ pick, that was in the supplemental draft. This is a former quarterback for Pete’s sake who has transitioned to the wide receiver position. While he’s 28 (turns 29 in late June), he doesn’t have as many miles on the tires as a usual player that age. Still a bit undeveloped in some of his receiver skills, he’s an athletic playmaker.

New York Jets

What about the backfield?

  • Trenton Cannon (sixth round, Virginia State)
    • Darnold has another rookie with him in the Jets backfield. Cannon likely won’t get any action in the backfield, but will help on special teams and the Jets desperately need major help in that department.
  • Thomas Rawls (undrafted, Central Michigan)
    • A cast-off, poor man’s bell cow. He should help in goal line situations if he even makes the roster.
  • Isaiah Crowell (undrafted, Alabama State)
    • Should split the load with the next running back we’ll discuss. In the NFL today, it’s a running back by committee kind of league. Crowell isn’t flashy or spectacular, but he’s consistent and the Jets can use more of that on offense.
  • Bilal Powell (fourth round, Louisville)
    • This is the highest draft pick for the Jets in the backfield as a ‘fourth-round pick’, but despite his lofty draft stature, he has never really gotten the chance to be the guy. Even when he did when Chris Ivory was hurt so many years ago, he led the AFC in rushing, but as soon as Ivory was healthy he got pushed into the shadows. You could argue he’s the most underutilized talent in the NFL.
  • Elijah McGuire (sixth round, Louisiana-Lafayette)
    • While finally, McGuire is a versatile change of pace back that showed some pop last year. Although consistency is the name of the game and if he wants a bigger role, he’ll have to earn it.

So it's safe to say this is the Island of Misfit Toys for Darnold


But just because he isn’t surrounded by All-Stars doesn’t mean he can’t thrive with them. These players may not be big names to the national media, but they’re really solid playmakers.

Kearse had career-highs with Josh McCown at quarterback. Anderson with a healthy McCown would’ve gotten over 1,000 yards with the Jets. Enunwa was injured all of last season, but when healthy had 857 yards with a garbage quarterback. Pryor had 1,000 yards with the Cleveland Browns, do I need to say more?

While in the backfield, you won’t mistake any of these guys for Hall of Famers, but they can provide enough of a balance to stabilize things for Darnold and the Jets. You may not know who these guys are now, but you will by the end of the season. Darnold will prove that you can indeed thrive as King Moonracer on the Island of Misfit Toys.

New York Jets

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