With every passing week, the Jets move that much closer to securing the No. 1 pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, and with it, a chance to take Clemson standout quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
Such a scenario would seemingly cut the Sam Darnold experiment short before it ever really began, abandoning the 2018 No. 3 pick out of USC without giving him a proper arsenal of playmakers to depend on.
Even head coach Adam Gase — who seems to get everything wrong — realized that.
“There were some games where it was almost unfair to judge him,” Gase said on Wednesday. “Some of these games have been hard to really put on him and evaluate him because it’s survival mode because of what’s going on injury-wise.”
It would make the decision to move on from Darnold a shrewd move, especially when he was considered by many to be the golden-armed franchise quarterback of the future a year ago.
Even so, Jets legend Joe Namath — considered by many to be the organization’s last true franchise quarterback — finds the allure of acquiring Lawrence too strong to stay faithful to Darnold.
“It’d be hard to pass on Lawrence, I’ll tell you,” Namath told the Jake Asman Show on SportsMap Radio on Wednesday. “He’s just a marvelous player and has been the last few years.”
“Everything about him — his passing ability, his movement, his habit of winning — he’s a monster. So whoever is going to have a chance to get him will probably take him.”
Lawrence has arguably been one of the best players in college football over much of the last three seasons, winning a national championship with Clemson last year and now being the clear frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy in 2020.
Through five games, he has a 73% completion percentage for 1,544 yards, 15 touchdowns, and just one interception to go with four rushing scores.
Quite a talent while watching Darnold regress in Year 3 before a shoulder injury held him out for the last two games. He posted a 70.7 passer rating with a 59.4% completion percentage with three touchdowns and four interceptions through four games.
“I don’t know whether Sam is still going to be there. If the Jets are in that undesirable position…of being in last place, but being in the most desirable position to have the first pick, I don’t know what they’re gonna do,” Namath said. “They could maybe get other draft choices. Do they still believe in Sam? I don’t look at the video of the game and the replays the way the coaches do, so they’ll make that decision.
“There’s a lot of other teams, there’s 31 other teams and Sam Darnold can play for several of them. So he maybe somewhere else starting if that scenario did unfold. If the Jets had that No. 1 pick they might do something with Sam to get another high draft choice or two or three. So I don’t know.”
The 0-6 Jets meet the Buffalo Bills on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium (1 p.m., CBS).