New York Jets: Three bold fantasy predictions for 2019

Sam Darnold, New York Jets. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Sam Darnold, New York Jets. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images) /
3 of 3
New York Jets
Sam Darnold, New York Jets. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

Darnold steps it up in 2019

Give Gang Green some credit. They have done their level best to surround sophomore quarterback Sam Darnold with talent. In the offseason, they signed Bell from Pittsburgh, Montgomery from Baltimore, and wide receiver Jamison Crowder from Washington. That’s a big amount of offensive production added to the roster.

They also fortified their offensive line. First, the Jets swung a draft-day trade with Oakland for two-time Pro Bowl guard Kelechi Osemele. Then in a move no one saw coming, they coaxed five-time Pro Bowl center Ryan Kalil out of retirement. Four new starters are as close to an offensive overhaul as a team can get in the salary cap era.

Last year, with Isaiah Crowell as their main rushing threat, the New York Jets finished 26th in the league with 1622 yards and 4.0 yards-per-carry. In his most recent season, 2017, Le’Veon Bell ran for 1291 yards on his own. In addition, Bell caught 85 passes for 655 yards.

More from Empire Writes Back

His addition to the team helps Darnold in two ways. Defenses must now respect the Jets ground game, that will open up the field for the young quarterback. Bell is also a good receiver out of the backfield (312 career receptions) so he is a reliable check-down option who can break a short pass into a long gain.

Crowder has averaged almost four receptions per game over his career. In a full season, that’s 64 catches. Last season Robbie Anderson led the team with 50 receptions. Add Crowder’s reliability to Anderson’s explosiveness and it makes for a defensive coordinator’s nightmare in coverage.

As a rookie, Darnold threw for 2865 yards and 17 touchdowns in 13 games. He was also sacked 30 times. Now in his second season, he has some new weapons at the skill positions, added to the mix. The signal-caller also has a rebuilt offensive line to protect him. Not to mention the added year of game experience and film study. Provided he stays healthy Darnold should blow last year’s numbers out of the water.

Jets Darnold is opening eyes with fast start. dark. Next

Sam Darnold should be near the top of your quarterback shopping list come draft day.