BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - DECEMBER 12: Quarterback Sam Darnold #14 of the New York Jets drops back to pass over the defense of the Baltimore Ravens during the game at M&T Bank Stadium on December 12, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland.
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

General manager Joe Douglas knows that the New York Jets are only going to go as far as Sam Darnold takes them.

When the New York Jets and Joe Douglas were on the clock with pick No. 11 in the 2020 NFL Draft, there was one goal in mind: Protect Sam Darnold. The selection of Mekhi Becton proved that the team’s mission was to build a competent offensive line for the third-year quarterback.

“If we ever want to see Sam [Darnold]’s full potential we have to protect him,” Douglas said on WFAN on Monday. “He can’t be taking shots from every angle, he’s got to be up on his feet. We have to take care of that first and everything else will fall into place. That was our mission from the outset.”

Although it would have been nice to see the Jets investing in the offensive line two years ago, it’s better late than never. In Douglas’ first draft as the Jets’ GM, he prioritized giving his young passer help. Becton is a freak athlete who could protect Darnold’s blindside for the next decade.

“When the conversation came up with Mekhi, this guy just reminds you of an old school left tackle, just the giant big men,” Douglas said.

But Becton wasn’t the only help Darnold is getting through the draft. The Jets took wide reciever Denzel Mims, a borderline first-round talent, with the 59th pick and later added Cameron Clark in the fourth round. Clark played left tackle for Charlotte and is going to be a developmental prospect but he’s likely to transition to left guard at some point.

Potentially, Douglas just gave Darnold two starters on the left side of the line and a true No. 1 receiver. Whether or not these prospects pan out is another story entirely, but the “mission” to build around Darnold is crystal clear.

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