Hoping to end their long search for a franchise-caliber quarterback, the New York Jets selected USC’s Sam Darnold with the third overall pick Thursday night in the NFL draft, signaling the start of a new era.
The Jets, who traded up three spots last month, chose Darnold over UCLA’s Josh Rosen and Wyoming’s Josh Allen. Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield went to the Cleveland Browns with the No. 1 pick. That Darnold went to the Jets was a surprise, as he was long projected as the likely top pick.
Darnold said he wasn’t discouraged that he wasn’t the No. 1 pick, claiming he knew it was a possibility from the outset. Fair or not, he’s perceived as the Jets’ savior.
Maccagnan said it wasn’t until Thursday that he first thought Darnold could fall to them. It’s believed he was the highest-rated quarterback on the Jets’ draft board. They held a secret private workout with him recently and later brought him to their facility for a visit.
On his visit, team officials took him to dinner and “maybe one or two of us ordered cocktails,” Maccagnan said. “Of course, Sam isn’t legal, so we were joking around with him a little.”
Darnold turns 21 on June 5.
“He’s very young,” Maccagnan said. “We feel he has a bright future.”
Backstrom was asked whether the Capitals enter this showdown as the underdog despite winning the Metro Division.
“Yeah, but it doesn’t really matter if we’re underdogs or not,” he said. “They won the Stanley Cup two years in a row. Good for them. We’re going to play in the second round against them. It’ll be fun.”
Sidney Crosby has spent his career getting the best of Alex Ovechkin. Here’s how the two compare in their teams’ head-to-head matchups, which include three postseason series.
Pittsburgh and Washington have met in the playoffs 10 times in their respective franchise histories. The Penguins have won nine of those series, four of them in seven games. The Penguins have never won a Stanley Cup without beating the Capitals in the playoffs during their run, including all three Stanley Cups of the Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin era.
In 2009, the Penguins won an epic seven-game series that featured the famous Game 2 that saw Alex Ovechkin and Crosby both tally hat tricks. The Penguins captured Game 7 in D.C., 6-2. In 2016, the Penguins ousted the Capitals in six games after losing Game 1 on the road in overtime. In 2017, the rivals went seven games again, with the Penguins winning Game 7 at Washington, 2-0.