In his latest NFL mock draft, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. once again predicted that the New York Jets will select Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver DeVonta Smith to serve as a new No. 1 target for quarterback Sam Darnold.
However, Walter Football and Chris Trapasso and Josh Edwards of CBS Sports continue to forecast that the Jets will draft Darnold’s replacement with the second overall pick. Assuming that Darnold’s time with the club that drafted him in 2018 will soon expire, some team will likely take a flier on the 23-year-old, if only to make him a backup who sits behind a proven commodity.
On Thursday, Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network mentioned both the Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers as potential suitors for Darnold. Pauline’s story comes amid speculation that the Colts are interested in reuniting unhappy Philadelphia Eagles signal-caller Carson Wentz with head coach Frank Reich and offensive assistant Press Taylor, two coaches who worked with Wentz during their Philadephia tenures.
Per Pauline, the 49ers “will also be in the mix” for Darnold.
According to numerous reports, Darnold would cost much less than Wentz in a trade, and the Colts are left without a starting quarterback following the retirement of longtime veteran Philip Rivers. The 49ers, meanwhile, could save over $21 million in salary-cap space by cutting or trading often-injured starter Jimmy Garoppolo at the beginning of the new NFL year in March. Perhaps the 49ers and Jets could follow in the footsteps of the Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Rams and exchange quarterbacks next month.