Welcome to the first installment in this series of articles where I breakdown one Jets position group each day, and discuss how they project in 2020 and beyond. Today, we’ll start off with the QBs.
Not mentioned/likely won’t make the final roster: David Fales, Mike White
The Jets added 2 new faces to their QB room this offseason, starting with
3. James Morgan, FIU, 23 y/o*
The Jets selected Morgan in the 4th round of April’s Draft, the most controversial move of GM Joe Doulgas’ inaugural offseason. The value of the backup QB has been proved time and time again in the modern NFL, even delivering a Super Bowl to Philadelphia. However, selecting a project QB in the 4th round doesn’t make much sense when you have as many holes as the Jets do. Morgan has starter-level tools: 6’4”, leadership skills amd a cannon for an arm. However, he is still considered raw, and inaccurate to all levels of the field. He struggled mightily on deep passes as a senior, with a completion % under 30% on passes than traveled more than 20 yards down the field. Morgan is also already 23, so he doesn’t have much time to improve as other QB prospects (he is actually older than Darnold). If Morgan can improve his accuracy, he could be traded sometime down the line, a-la Jimmy Garrapolo.
2020 expected stats: N/A
2020 expected role: 3rd string QB, will play a lot in preseason
Long-term expected role: Potential long-term backup QB
2. Joe Flacco, University of Delaware, 35 y/o*
The Jets signed the veteran Flacco to a 1 year deal few weeks ago. Because Morgan is so unpolished, it made sense to bring in a true vet backup to hold down the fort if Darnold gets hurt. The Jets learned firsthand how valuable a good backup is last season: Luke Falk and Trevor Siemian combined for 419 yards, 0 passing TDs and an 0-3 record last season when forced into action. Flacco should be a solid locker room presence as well, after being a stable franchise QB for the Ravens for 10 years, and bringing a superbowl to Baltimore. If all goes well, Flacco won’t see the field this season, but if needed he should be a stable presence on the field, and a mentor to both young QBs.
2020 expected stats: 19/27, 210 yards, 1 TD/1 INT
2020 expected role: Strong backup QB
Long-term expected role: Most likely won’t resign after this season
1. Sam Darnold, USC, 23 y/o*
After 2 lackluster campaigns to start his career, Sam Darnold is entering a critical season. The Jets have done little to support the 22(!) year old QB so far, and while Joe Douglas took steps to upgrade Darnold’s protection and weapons, did he do enough? Both units project to be below average this season despite all the upgrades this offseason. Regardless, the pressure is on Darnold to take a major step forward in his development this season, or the Jets could potentially look to move on from him. He’s still extremely young, and performed well in the 2nd half of last season, leading the jets to a 6-2 record and landing in the top 8 in PFF rating for QBs. The stats don’t tell the full story with Darnold; that much is clear. But how much better can he get with an average-at-best offensive line and a bottom 5 WR core? For Darnold to be successful next year, Chris Herndon must bounce back after missing almost all of 2019 due to a fractured rib, and Le’Veon Bell has to be a force in both the passing and running game. Add on one of the hardest schedules in football, and it’s hard to see Darnold succeeding in 2020.
2020 expected stats: 3,700 yards, 25 TDs/14INTs, 65% COMP
2020 expected role: Starting QB
Long-term expected role: Starting QB for the foreseeable future
Thank you for reading. I’ll see you tomorrow, where I’ll break down the Jets WR core.
*ages are based on what their age will be for Week 1