26. Sam Darnold, New York Jets
The New York Jets landed Sam Darnold after he slipped by the New York Giants during the 2018 NFL Draft. Former general manager Mike Maccagnan traded up to position the team to land one of the young, promising quarterbacks from that draft class.
Maccagnan’s move worked, as Darnold appears to be the franchise savior the Jets have been looking for at the quarterback position for decades. He may have gone 4-9, but he threw for 2,865 yards and 17 scores in 13 games.
Darnold went through the rookie blues through his first nine games of the season. During that stretch, he completed just over 55 percent of his throws for 1,934 yards for 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.
The rookie then went down with an injury and missed Week 10 through Week 12. When he came back, he flashed that potential he has big time. From Week 13 to Week 16, he completed 64 percent of his throws for 931 yards with six scores and one pick.
Darnold is ranked higher than the likes of Rosen, Allen and Jackson because other than Baker Mayfield, he appeared to be the most polished rookie signal caller last year. Also, other than Mayfield once again, he has been surrounded by more weapons than those other three named above.
If those final four weeks are a sign, then Darnold may be primed for a big step in his second season.