Jets OC on Sam Darnold: We've thrown everything at him and 'he hasn't flinched'

Weeks before the draft, the Jets traded up to the No. 3 pick for one simple reason: They desperately needed a franchise quarterback. So it was no surprise why they took former USC star Sam Darnold, who could have a real chance to earn the starting job.

We know this because Jets offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates said as much this week as the team takes part in mandatory minicamp practices.

"We're throwing everything at him," Bates said, via the New York Post. "If he can handle it, if he can prove that he's the starter, then that will take place when the time comes. We're here to play the best football players that give us a chance to win on Sunday."

Christian Hackenberg, the 2016 second-round pick, never saw the field in two years and the Jets traded him this offseason. And 38-year-old Josh McCown can't play forever (we think). There's also Teddy Bridgewater, the Vikings' former first-round pick who suffered a serious knee injury before the 2016 season and appeared in just one game since. And while Bridgewater has earned positive reviews during offseason workouts, Darnold has too and he has the added benefit of being the future of the franchise. 

"If you watch [Darnold's] college tape, he has the ability to make plays off schedule," Bates continued. "He's just very sudden. If he sees a guy open, the ball is out now. I kind of describe him as a very sudden player. There's not a lot of wasted thought process, as you go from him thinking to releasing the ball. At the same time, he has a true passion, a true love for the game. He's all ball. ...

"I've been around some rookies that took a whole year to be able to get in a huddle and have confidence and call those plays. Ever since rookie minicamp, he hasn't flinched. Everything we've thrown at him, he's been able to handle."

We're in an era where first-round quarterbacks often see the field as rookies. The Jets are coming off a five-win season and it's fair to say that Todd Bowles is coaching for his job. If Darnold is the best quarterback, there's no reason to keep him on the bench.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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