Since 2018, the New York Jets have trusted Sam Darnold to occupy the driver's seat. Whether or not he'll be given the keys again in 2021, however, is a decision still stuck in neutral.
During an appearance on the latest episode of the Huddle & Flow podcast with NFL Network's Steve Wyche and Jim Trotter, Jets head coach Robert Saleh was asked if he believes the former first-round pick is going to be the guy next season.
Much like he did during his introductory press conference a week ago, Saleh again sounded like a member of Darnold's fan club now while declining to confirm his status as the Jets starter moving forward.
"We just got here, we're just starting to watch all this tape, watch the personnel that's here, quarterback, receiver, O-line, D-line, linebackers, DBs so you're going through that entire process. What I can tell you about Sam is that he is an unbelievable talent," Saleh said. "There's a reason why he was the third overall pick, it's very clear, just watch the tape. Production aside, just watch the player. He's got tremendous mobility, he's got arm talent, he's fearless, he's smart, he's a good, precise decision-maker. He's loved in the locker room, people adore him around this building. There's a reason why he's [a] third overall pick and, let's be real, he's 23 years old so he hasn't even scratched the surface of life yet."
Armed with the No. 2 overall selection, among several other 2021 draft picks, the Jets are in prime position to draft Darnold's replacement, should things go that direction. Through three seasons, he's tallied 8,097 yards (213.1 YPG) and tossed 45 TD to 39 INT.
As is often the case with a regime change, the entire roster is subject to evaluation. Of course, given the question marks surrounding the Jets' QB position, starting at the top of the depth chart certainly takes precedence, especially during an offseason set to be filled with heavy QB activity.
Ahead of the Jets' regular season finale, Darnold told reporters, "I absolutely believe my best days are ahead." To this point, Saleh and the Jets have given zero indication that those days will be played out in New York. All Darnold -- and the rest of Gang Green -- can do now is wait.
"There's a lot to Sam but there's so many discussions that need to be had and so many moving parts with regard to the rest of the roster, the whole entire building, the draft, free agency all of it to give an answer on where we are at that point, with Joe and his staff, there's just a lot of discussions that have to be had," Saleh continued. "But at the same time with Sam, I'm not hiding behind a veil or anything; the kid's very, very talented and it shows on tape when you really just watch it. Results aside, you just have to watch his tape to see how talented the young man is."