New York Jets rookie quarterback Zach Wilson insisted that he is not competing against Sam Darnold that his main focus is on helping the Jets claim a win in Week 1. Darnold, who was taken at No. 3 in the 2018 NFL draft by the Jets, didn't live up to the expectation in New York so the Jets decided to move on from the quarterback this offseason.
After moving on from Darnold, the Jets used their No. 2 pick to select Wilson. The Darnold experiment didn't work out in New York but the former No. 3 pick got another chance when the Carolina Panthers traded for him. "That's definitely not something I think about," Wilson said, per ESPN.
"He's doing his own thing now. He's got a great situation going for him. I think the organization already decided to go one way, and it's not because Sam isn't a good football player. It's just that they wanted a fresh start."
The Jets had even considered keeping Darnold alongside Wilson. "(That idea) went pretty far," Jets coach Robert Saleh said. "Obviously, you see how far in the process Sam was traded. I'll go ahead and say it: We pretty much knew we were taking the young kid, so the discussion with Sam was if somebody was going to make an offer we couldn't refuse."
Wilson named one of five Jets' captains
In 2018, Darnold wasn't one of five Jets' captains. "It's a role to take seriously," Wilson said. Jets head coach Saleh believes Wilson deserved the captaincy.
"I was like, 'Oh, look at that,'" he said. "I think it's more of a testament to him, the way he has been able to conduct himself here. You go to the cafeteria and he's hanging out with the O-linemen.
He's got an infectious personality. It's a credit to him and the way he's handled himself so far." Wilson and Darnold met last year and Wilson enjoyed his experience with Darnold. "He's a super-cool guy," Wilson said.
"We just talked about life in the NFL." Meanwhile, Darnold is excited about a fresh start with the Panthers. "Honestly, we're all excited in the locker room to play football -- play in front of a crowd, especially here in Charlotte," he said.
"Just to have the fans back that's amazing. We've all been looking forward to it a really long time. I'm excited to play the Jets and see what this football team can do. I'm excited to just play consistent and play within myself.' '