NFL Draft 2021: Should the New York Jets Build Around Darnold or Draft a New QB?

Published 12/29/2020, 9:50 AM EST
New York Jets head coach Adam Gase, left, talks with quarterback Sam Darnold (14) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)


With the New York Jets locking in the #2 spot for the 2021 NFL draft, their hopes of landing Trevor Lawrence are officially a thing of the past.

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With the Jacksonville Jaguars the firm favorites to land Lawrence with the first overall pick, speculation is rife surrounding the future of the New York-based franchise. The uncertainty around who will be the future Jets quarterback is still of potential interest.

With Trevor Lawrence no longer an option, should the New York Jets draft in a new QB? Or should they stick with their 3rd overall 2018 draft pick, Sam Darnold?

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Quarterbacks up for grabs

The New York Jets have a couple of options to look into should they wish to draft in a new quarterback. Ohio State’s Justin Fields is still regarded as the second-best QB available in the draft after Lawrence. Meanwhile, BYU’s Zach Wilson has been making quite a case for himself as well.

Fields’ stock has taken a hit, though. In his last 3 games for the Buckeyes, Fields has registered 5 interceptions for 4 touchdowns. And with a 44% completion rate in the Big Ten championship game against the Northwestern Wildcats, Fields’ numbers aren’t quite second overall pick material.

Dec 22, 2020; Boca Raton, Florida, USA; Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) scrambles with the ball against the UCF Knights. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Wilson, however, has enjoyed a much more productive season with BYU. Throwing 33 touchdowns for just 3 interceptions all season, the quarterback has struck form at just the right time. His performance in the team’s win in the Boca Raton Bowl has especially garnered a lot of attention.

So if the Jets are to pick a QB, should it be Fields or Wilson? For now, one would say that Wilson has the edge. Unless Fields can put up a game-winning performance in the Sugar Bowl semi-final against the Clemson Tigers, it’s not likely that the Jets would take the plunge for the Ohio QB.

But even with Wilson, one can’t be sure whether he’s going to be a hit or a bust. While his evasiveness and ability to run the ball will offer the Jets a dual-threat quarterback, a lot of the side’s other shortcomings will remain. Especially their sub par O-line.

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Stick with Darnold and strengthen other outlets

If the Jets do decide to stick with Darnold, it wouldn’t come as much of a surprise. The 3rd overall draft pick in 2018 has shown flashes of brilliance in the past.

Through his first 2 seasons with the Jets, Darnold averaged 18 touchdowns. While those aren’t numbers to light up the league, Darnold has shown that with the right supporting cast, he can make plays.

Darnold’s Achilles heel is his issue with throwing interceptions. The QB has struggled with turnovers over the course of his stint in the NFL. With 38 interceptions in close to 3 seasons, the numbers aren’t pretty.

But a lot of it also depends on the sort of players surrounding him. Darnold’s O-line still needs some work, but the side’s wide receiver camp is what really needs elbow grease.

The New York Jets in 2021 have the ability to change that. With 2 first rounds picks and 6 in the first 99, the Jets will have a lot of talent to choose from to plug in the gaps.

But some others feel that the Jets could end up with even more draft picks if they do end up sticking with Sam Darnold.

New York Jets need a massive overhaul

Another hot take is that the New York Jets should trade their #2 spot for a bunch of other highly rated draft picks. As mentioned before, the Jets already have a plethora of picks to shore up their side.

But should they stick with Darnold and forego the 2nd overall draft pick to concentrate on other areas, the side could load up with a bunch of potential superstars.

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Nov 22, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; New York Jets defensive end Henry Anderson (96) celebrates after a fumble recovery against the Los Angeles Chargers in the first quarter at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The idea of trading their 2nd overall draft pick for an NFL veteran too would not be a bad idea for the Jets. With a number of experienced options available in the market for various positions, the idea of squandering the second overall draft pick on yet another QB might not be the best option for the Jets going forward.

With the 2021 NFL Draft still some time away, the New York Jets management has the time to decide on how they wish to rebuild their franchise. An important decision given the franchise’s misfortunes over the years.

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Shivayan Roy

577 articles

Shivayan Roy is currently an NFL writer at EssentiallySports. After completing his Masters Diploma in Journalism from the Asian College of Journalism, Roy functioned as a reporter for Goal.com and extensively covered the FIFA U-17 World Cup.

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