New York Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold hasn't been a pro for long but there is a legitimate possibility that he could be the team's starting quarterback come Week 1 of the regular season.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Darnold has a "very fair shot" to be the man under center come opening night in Detroit.
The 21-year-old USC product, selected third overall at the 2018 draft, is in competition with veteran Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater for the job despite a short holdout that saw him arrive at training camp three days late due to a contract dispute. The two sides resolved things on Jul. 30 with Darnold signing a four-year, $30.25 million deal.
In that short amount of time, Darnold has gone from a safe bet as clipboard-holder on the sidelines in 2018 to viable competitor for the starting job.
Sam Darnold will be competing against...
The Jets job was expected to be a two-horse race between McCown and Bridgewater this season, both veterans playing under one-year contracts.
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McCown, who has been a perennial backup for most of his career, exceeded all expectations last year with the best season of his 15-year-career. The 38-year-old recorded career bests in passing yards (2,926), touchdowns (18) and completion percentage (67.3%).
On a team that was expected to win one or two games in 2017, McCown helped lead the Jets to five in their first 13 games before his year was cut short due to a broken hand.
Injuries have been far more familiar to Bridgewater, who is 13 years younger than McCown. The 25-year-old once looked to be the future of the Minnesota Vikings franchise after a Pro Bowl season in 2015.
A gruesome leg injury though not just halted his development as a star in the NFL, but it called his career into question as he has attempted just two passes over the past two years.
Darnold comes in as the face of the future in New York as many believed he was the best quarterback available in the 2018 draft. While there have been some concerns about his game, especially when it comes to turnovers, he is seen as a quintessential dropback passer that could provide the Jets with stability at a position that has been anything but over the past four or five decades.
The Jets must be liking what they're seeing though if they are already willing to say he has a shot at getting the starting job. Obviously, a decision won't be made until real game action is seen. The Jets begin their preseason on Friday against the Atlanta Falcons at Metlife Stadium.