11 Sep Young Professionals: Sam Darnold
If you know anything about the New York Jets, you know that they have been tough to watch for some time now. Part of that has had to do with the lackluster play of their quarterbacks. Thanks to the team’s poor performance last season and their willingness to give up a couple second-round draft picks, the Jets were on the clock with the third pick in the 2018 NFL draft.
It didn’t look good, so you can imagine my excitement when I saw Sam Darnold was still available when the Jets’ turn came. Darnold played quarterback for the University of Southern California and was widely considered the top quarterback pick in the draft.
In the past, the Jets have rushed rookie quarterbacks into action too soon. They have also kept them on the bench for too long. So, for the sake of Sam Darnold’s development, it was important to get the timing right. Fortunately, the Jets re-signed veteran quarterback, Josh McCown to mentor Darnold and be ready to play if, but only if, Darnold wasn’t ready. That gave the team leadership some flexibility. Then, Darnold went out there, gave it his all in practice and in the preseason games, and ultimately earned the coaches’ trust. He was ready to start in week one against the Detroit Lions.
Will Darnold become the best quarterback in the NFL right away? No. But he has the talent and mindset that will get him there if he takes the right steps now.
Think about this from the standpoint of a young professional in the business world. Are you looking to succeed right away? Of course—but very few people end up on top of their professions from day one! For me at least, my focus is on taking strides every day to reach my long-term goals. I’m learning from the leaders around me, taking advice from my mentors, and believing in my talents.
I guarantee that Sam Darnold has it written down somewhere that he wants to be the best quarterback in the National Football League five to ten years from today. He has the talent, he has the arm, and he has the mindset to go out onto the field and give the Jets what they haven’t had in years, a franchise quarterback.
And he’ll do just that if he learns from the veteran leaders around him like Josh McCown, takes advice from the coaching staff, and most of all, believes in his own talent.