Week 1 of the NFL season has come and gone, and, surprisingly, there wasn’t much to see as far as rookie quarterbacks are concerned. Out of the five QBs that were selected in the first round of this past year’s draft, only one got the chance to start.
Sam Darnold, who many scouts believed should have been taken first overall by the Cleveland Browns, had a solid performance in his NFL debut against the Detroit Lions. Although he got off to a rocky start by throwing a pick-six on his first pass, he bounced back and led his team to a blowout victory to open the season. He finished with two touchdowns on 198 yards passing and a completion percentage of 76.2. If you eliminate the interception he threw on the first play, he only had four incompletions on the day with a total QBR of 84.2, good for third best in the NFL after week 1.
Those numbers speak for themselves, and if you’re a Jets fan it’s time to rejoice; you’ve finally got the franchise quarterback that you’ve so desperately been waiting for.
Sam Darnold has what so many young QBs lack when they enter the NFL; he’s mature, he has great leadership ability and he’s able to compartmentalize his mistakes. After he threw that interception on the first play, he didn’t get down on himself. He realized his mistake and then moved on to the next play. For a lot of young QBs, an opening drive pick-six would have caused an avalanche of mistakes for the rest of the game.
Darnold showed the poise and maturity of a 10-year vet after he threw that interception. That’s the type of intangible trait that teams are looking for in a franchise quarterback.
Jets fans I’m sure weren’t the only fans who had a keen eye on Darnold this past weekend, as I’m sure many Browns fans watched as the QB they passed on lit it up on Monday night.
For as long as I’ve been alive, the Cleveland Browns have been searching for their answer at quarterback. And with every chance they get to finally draft their guy, they always manage to screw it up.
It’s too early to tell whether the Browns really messed up again by passing on Darnold with the first overall pick, but if I was a Browns fan I would definitely have my concerns. That’s not to say Baker Mayfield will be a bust in the NFL either. In fact, I believe he has bright future ahead of him in this league.
It really comes down to this: when an organization has the chance to get a clear cut, franchise-altering talent like Sam Darnold, there should be no hesitation in drafting him.
But this is what the Browns do, they try to outsmart the rest of the league and take the guy a lot of teams would’ve passed on. They did it when they picked Johnny Manziel in the first round in 2014, they did it when they traded the second overall pick to Philly (who took Carson Wentz) and it seems like they did again by taking Baker Mayfield over Sam Darnold.
The jury’s still out on this one, and who knows, maybe Baker will turn out to be a Hall of Famer and Darnold will turn out to be a bust. But one thing’s for certain, Jets fans are feeling a lot better about the future of their franchise than Browns fans are.
Brian Cass is a fourth-year student majoring in English and minoring in journalism. BC877149@wcupa.edu.