Jets CEO rates trade up in draft as team’s most important move in long time

The Jets were criticized by some when they moved up three spots in the first round, to No. 3 overall, to position themselves for a quarterback. Now that they have Sam Darnold, who went 16-of-21 for 198 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in his NFL debut, no one is questioning the Jets’ swapping first-round picks with the Colts and giving up the No. 37 overall choice, the No. 49 overall choice and a second-round pick in 2019.

“I think the trade up to No. 3 was pivotal,” Jets CEO Christopher Johnson said, via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. “It’s maybe the most important decision that the organization has made in a long time. Certainly in years.”

Johnson was in an elevator going from the field to the box when Darnold threw the pick-six to open the game. He saw the replay through the glass.

“My heart sank like every Jets fans’ heart sank,” said Johnson, adding he believed in Darnold’s resilience.

Darnold rebounded in a big way, proving the Jets right in their decision to move up in the draft, take him and start him in the season opener.

“He’s wise beyond his years,” Johnson said. “Certainly, his decision-making to this point has indicated so. He’s not prone to big highs and lows. A lot of good and bad will be thrown his way. I think he’s unique in his ability to handle the pressures of New York.”