ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper has an unpopular opinion regarding the Jets’ quarterback situation ahead of 2021.
Fans are still unaware of the Jets’ plans at the quarterback position; there are pros and cons to each of the aforementioned routes. ESPN’s Mel Kiper, however, is clear on the fact that rolling the dice with its current starter could be the most beneficial move for Gang Green.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper, on national conf call, says he’d keep Darnold + pass on Z. Wilson. Why? Keeping Darnold allows #Jets to draft Pitts, Smith or Chase. On ZW: “He was great for 1 yr against a cupcake schedule. Playing pitch + catch against inferior competition is the concern.”
— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) March 1, 2021
Of course, this is going to make a large portion of the Jets fanbase roll its eyes. Many are impatient considering Darnold hasn’t efficiently developed in the three seasons since he’s been drafted. With a new head coach in Robert Saleh now in Florham Park, fans are attracted to the idea of a full reset and moving forward with BYU’s Wilson, who’s expected to be available at No. 2.
But it introduces the benefits of keeping or parting ways with Darnold — there are arguments for either move.
Why keeping Darnold may work
The Jets would then be able to utilize their two first-round draft picks (No. 2 and 23) on offensive skill players, which the organization certainly needs after finishing last in both total yards and points in 2020.
With the No. 2 overall pick, the Jets will most definitely be in the position to draft anyone not named Trevor Lawrence, who’s projected to go No. 1 to Jacksonville. Every receiver or tight end prospect will be available, but the offensive acquisitions don’t need to stop there. At No. 23 overall, the Jets could snag a running back to pair with La’Mical Perine — potentially Clemson’s Travis Etienne or Alabama’s Najee Harris if either is still on the board.
Or, if they feel the need to improve a defensive unit that struggled in 2020, the Jets could go with a cornerback at No. 23 and possibly select South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn or an edge rusher like Oklahoma’s Ronnie Perkins.
The point is this: the Jets may free themselves up in the draft if they were to roll the dice with Darnold.
Why parting ways with Darnold may work
Recently, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport introduced the idea of the Jets keeping Darnold up until the draft. This could force a team with a late first-round pick that missed out on a number of quarterbacks in the draft to give up its opening-round selection for Sam.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 22, 2021
The Jets, who would likely then be selecting Zach Wilson at No. 2, would have two additional first-round picks to acquire offensive weapons to help him develop. Alternatively, the Jets could address both offense and defense with their pair of late first-round picks.
Potential suitors for Darnold, in that case, could be Washington (No. 19 overall) and Chicago (No. 20 overall).