Josh McCown: It’s important not to rush Darnold’s development

Josh McCown was at his son’s basketball game Thursday night when his phone started buzzing.

The Jets had just selected USC quarterback Sam Darnold with the No. 3 overall pick. The first text he received was from his 19-year-old daughter Bridget.

“He’s less than a year older than me … crazy,” the text read.

McCown, who turns 39 on July 4, replied, “Wow. Thanks Bridge.”

That was how McCown found out his newest teammate was the 20-year-old Darnold. Now, the Jets are counting on McCown to help Darnold develop into the quarterback they hope he can be.

“It’s a journey,” McCown said in a phone interview Friday. “I think that’s the key for everybody, is just to pace ourselves with his development. I think the skills are there. It’s just going about the right way to bring them out the best as possible. I know the expectations are high, but we still have to understand that this is a young kid. He’s still learning a lot about the game. As polished as he is, there are still things he’s going to have to learn as he goes through it. We just have to do everything we can to make the situation as comfortable as possible for him to find success.”

McCown is familiar with Darnold because he studied the top college quarterbacks last season. McCown hopes to be a quarterbacks coach when he is done playing and wanted to start testing himself on evaluating quarterbacks, so he spent time watching Darnold and the other top draft prospects.

“I think you have this big, strong competitive dude back there playing quarterback and has the ability to make all the throws,” McCown said of his evaluation. “I think I was most impressed with his ability outside the pocket and to make plays with his feet and buy time with his feet and make plays downfield. That’s part of his game. At this level, plays happen off schedule all the time. That’s definitely an asset. I look forward to working with him. He’s an exciting player. He’s talented and he can do pretty much everything in different offenses. He can make all the throws and do the things you ask a quarterback to do. The playmaking ability is an elite trait and that’s why you pick a guy as soon as we did. That’s exciting.”

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