Why One Sports Writer is Taking Sam Darnold Over Cam Newton and Rest of AFC East QBs

Rob Bradford
August 17, 2020 - 2:58 pm

Now that Tom Brady is gone we can now have a legitimate debate.

Who is the best quarterback in the AFC East?

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Most who follow Manish Mehta's takes know that even with Brady in the division he was willing to put Jets' signal-caller Sam Darnold near or at the top. Now, the New York Daily News' beat writer has no doubt who should be classified as No. 1, as he told Ken Laird and Nick Stevens on WEEI Saturday afternoon.

"I know everybody up there thinks I’m biased toward Sam Darnold," Mehta said. "I can just say from a talent perspective I think he has got so much ability. I think he is the best quarterback in the (AFC East). Full disclosure, we haven’t seen (Miami rookie) Tua (Tagovailoa) play at the NFL level. I also think he has immense talent. From what I’ve seen I think I would take Sam Darnold over anybody else in this division, including Josh Allen, including Cam Newton.

"Now, if you want to go back in time and jump in the Hot Tub Time Machine I’ll take Cam Newton any day of the week. I’ll take the MVP Cam Newton every day of the week. But what I’ve seen from Newton over the last several years is not the same player that we saw at his peak. So where Cam Newton is right now in his career, when you factor that in I think that Sam Darnold is the best quarterback in this division. I’ll probably take Cam Newton if he’s right ahead of Josh Allen. I think Josh Allen made significant improvements last year but he also has significant holes in his game. If Cam Newton is right, even though he is not the player he used to be, I would take Cam over Josh Allen. And then obviously Miami the wild card because you don’t know what Tua is. I’m a big believer in Ryan Fitzpatrick holding down the fort. But if you’re talking long-term and you’re asking me who do I want for the next five years, I’ll take Sam Darnold any day of the week."

Darnold is entering his third season, having come off a 2019 campaign in which he started 13 games (going 7-6), finishing with a completion percentage of 61.9 percent while throwing for 3,024 yards. His passer rating went from 77.6 in his rookie year to 88.3 last year.

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