It’s no secret that Sam Darnold’s career to this point has been less than stellar in comparison to the other QB’s from the 2018 NFL draft class. Lamar Jackson won league MVP in the 2019-2020 season; Josh Allen led the Buffalo Bills to the AFC Championship last season, as well as being in the MVP running. Baker Mayfield, without Odell Beckham for the better part of last season, still posted his best season to date, but like Bing Crosby in 1950, this year will be “Sam Song.”
With the third pick in the 2018 NFL draft, the New York Jets selected what they hoped to be their Franchise quarterback in Sam Darnold, an athletic, strong-arm, accurate Qb who drew comparisons to his Pac-12 counterpart Andrew Luck. Many scouts coming into this draft had Sam Darnold rated the number one quarterback, including Mel Kiper Jr, who had Sam Darnold as the number one player on his big board. Cleveland Browns surprisingly took Baker Mayfield an, and the New York Giants selected Saquon Barkley, and the Jets got their guy.
Over three years with the New York Jets, Sam Darnold and his employer faced myriads of turmoil. Beginning with media questioning their organization, Adam Gase not being the right fit, the Leveon Bell saga, things did not work out. In that span, the New York Jets went 13 -35, including a 2-14 season this past season and being the laughing stock of the NFL. Changes had to be made, and general manager Joe Douglas fired Adam Gase, hired Robert Saleh, and on April 5th, 2021, he traded Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers for three draft picks.
Sam Darnold’s best year to date was the 2019-2020 NFL Season, where he had a not too shabby 84.3 QB rating with 19 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, and it’s no coincidence that Robby Anderson was his number one target that season. Sam Darnold is surrounded by the best talent he’s had in his NFL career, the 2020 1st team ALL Pro RB Christian McCaffrey, at WR he has the speedy DJ Moore, the savvy Robbie Anderson, and incumbent rookie Terrance Marshall Jr from LSU and the best run-blocking tight end in the 2021 NFL draft Tommy Tremble who happens to be a great safety net as well. Sam Darnold is poised for a breakout season with a plethora of weapons and a decent offensive line.
My bold prediction for the upcoming season is as follows; The Carolina Panthers will compete for the number one spot in the NFC South; they will fall short but make the playoffs as a wildcard. Sam Darnold will lead the league in completion percentage, and during the 2022 NFL Honors, Sam Darnold will win comeback player of the year.