Mel Kiper Jr. Reacts To The Jets Trading Sam Darnold

New York Jets QB Sam Darnold throwing a pass.

For weeks now, it has looked like the New York Jets are locked in on BYU’s Zach Wilson as their pick at No. 2 in this month’s NFL Draft. Yesterday’s Sam Darnold trade makes that look even more official.

Darnold is heading to the Carolina Panthers. In return, the New York Jets are getting a sixth-round pick this year, and second and fourth-round picks in 2022. It is a solid but not overwhelming return for a player taken No. 3 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft.

With the Jets keyed in on Wilson, it only makes sense to get back what you can for Darnold. Keeping the former USC star only serves to either drive down his value, or to block the upcoming No. 2 pick from playing, making that selection diminish in value. The Jets probably got the most they could for him at this moment.

Not everyone agrees with the move, though. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. doesn’t like the Jets giving up on Darnold this early, and would have liked to see the team grab one of the big weapons available in this draft instead.

“I would not have traded Sam Darnold, that would’ve been my call all along,” Kiper said on ESPN’s Get Up this morning. “I would’ve moved down and gotten Kyle Pitts or Jaylen Waddle.”

There’s something to that idea. Darnold hasn’t performed well in New York, but he’s gotten very little help from the Jets. His leading receiver as a rookie was Robby Anderson, whom he is now reunited with in Carolina, and the last two seasons it has been Jamison Crowder. None have come close to 1,000 yards.

Had the Jets given him one more year and added a Pitts, Waddle, or a Ja’Marr Chase or DeVonta Smith, it would have given us a much better look at what Darnold can do. But if the New York Jets believe Zach Wilson is a bona fide star in the making, it is very hard to turn down the opportunity to draft that quarterback.


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Mel Kiper Jr. Reacts To The Jets Trading Sam Darnold