Sam Darnold named Jets starter, youngest QB1 since 1970

Classic millennial.

Rookie Sam Darnold was named the New York Jets starting quarterback Wednesday, making him the youngest player to start a season opener as QB1 since the 1970 NFL merger, according to NFL research. Additionally, Darnold will be the second-youngest QB to start a game regardless of the week — Tommy Maddox in 1992 at 21 years, 81 days for the Denver Broncos.

Darnold, a standout at San Clemente High School and USC, was drafted No. 3 overall by the Jets and competed with veterans Teddy Bridgewater and Josh McCown throughout training camp for the starting role. Shortly before naming Darnold the starter, the Jets traded Bridgewater to the New Orleans Saints for a third-round draft pick in a somewhat unusual manner.

Through three preseason games, Darnold has proven his worth as a top-5 pick in New York. The 21-year-old has thrown for 244 yards on 29/45 for two TDs and one interception.

“The Jets have their guy. Sam Darnold has that look of a quarterback that you want in New York City,” said Hall of Famer Cris Carter on First Things First Wednesday. “He’s got a good support system around him as far as his family. His feet are on the ground… Sam Darnold, I believe, has the right stuff.”

Darnold and the Jets have one last preseason challenge facing the World Champion Philadelphia Eagles Thursday before opening the season on Monday Night Football against the Detroit Lions in the Motor City September 10.