There were five quarterbacks selected in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, but only one of them will be his team's opening-day starter. The New York Jets announced on Monday that Sam Darnold will start the team's first game of the year, against the Detroit Lions on "Monday Night Football."
As ESPN's Adam Schefter noted, Darnold will be the youngest opening-day starting quarterback ever.
With Sam Darnold starting next Monday on Monday Night Football at Detroit, he will become the youngest ever opening-day starting NFL QB and he will extend the streak of having at least one rookie QB start on opening weekend to 11 straight seasons.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 3, 2018
The Jets made Darnold the No. 3 overall pick out of USC, selecting him after trading the No. 6 overall selection and three second-round picks to the Indianapolis Colts for the right to move up those three spots. There was some question about whether or not Darnold would even be there for them to pick, as rumors connected him to both the Browns at No. 1 and the Giants at No. 2, but he ultimately slipped into the Jets' laps.
The Jets had already both re-signed Josh McCown and brought in Teddy Bridgewater at the time they made their move up the draft board. McCown was widely expected to enter the season as the starter but Bridgewater and Darnold both performed well during the preseason. (In three preseason contests, Darnold completed 29 of 45 passes for 243 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.) Once it became clear that Darnold was ready to play, the Jets traded Bridgewater to the Saints in exchange for a swap of mid-round draft picks.
The Jets have been searching for a so-called quarterback of the future for quite a while now, and Darnold is actually their second attempt in recent seasons at tabbing a former USC passer for that role. (They took Mark Sanchez No. 5 overall in 2009. Sanchez rode an elite Jets defense to back-to-back AFC title game appearances before quickly falling off and eventually becoming a journeyman backup.) Darnold is very highly thought of around the league, and he might just be the answer the Jets have been searching for. We'll start to find out in about a week.