Sam Darnold poses with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being drafted third overall by the New York Jets on April 26, 2018 in Arlington, Texas.

Jets' Johnson: Trade For Darnold 'Most Important Decision' Team Has Made In Years

September 12, 2018 - 4:00 pm
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By WFAN.com

It may be only one game into the 2018 NFL season, but Christopher Johnson is already very impressed with his rookie quarterback.

The Jets CEO spoke to reporters on Wednesday and did not shy away from praising No. 3 overall pick Sam Darnold, after the young quarterback began his career with a big win on the road against the Detroit Lions Monday night. 

Johnson touched on the importance of selecting Darnold in April's draft, stating just how significant the trade up was for an organization that has struggled to find stability at the quarterback position for years.

"I think the trade up to No. 3 was pivotal," said Johnson. "It's maybe the most important decision that the organization has made in a long time... I mean, certainly in years." 

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The 21-year-old quarterback finished 16-for-21 (76.2 completion percentage) for 198 yards and two touchdowns against the Lions, earning a 116.8 Passer Rating in his NFL debut.

However it wasn't all smiles for the former USC Trojan at Ford Field Monday. Darnold's first NFL pass was picked off and returned for a touchdown- far from the start the young QB was hoping for. 

Even with the early mistake, Johnson was not worried about Darnold's ability to bounce back after everything he has seen from the talented young quarterback, dating back to his college days.

"One of the things we've seen from Sam in college, in the spring time, in training camp is that he has an amazing ability to put adversity behind him," the team's CEO said. "When something goes wrong, he quickly pivots to what comes next. I had great faith in him even after that pick six. I thought, 'Ok, he's been punched in the face. Let's see how he responds. I think he's going to do a good job.' And I did not lose heart entirely."

Johnson and the Jets are certainly thrilled with everything they have seen from Darnold thus far, and are excited to see how he further develops.

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"He's wise beyond his years," Johnson told reporters Wednesday. "Certainly his decision making to this point has indicated so. He's not prone to big highs or lows. I'm really impressed with the way he's handled himself."

Darnold will get the chance to play in front of the home crowd for the first time in the regular season Sunday as the Jets welcome the Miami Dolphins to MetLife Stadium.