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How the Jets' highly drafted QBs fared in their first career start

Sam Darnold, who was taken third overall in April's draft, will make his NFL debut against the Lions on Monday Night Football. 

Jets quarterback Sam Darnold throws a pass against

Jets quarterback Sam Darnold throws a pass against the Falcons on Aug. 10 in East Rutherford, N.J. Photo Credit: AP/Adam Hunger

Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold, drafted third overall in April, will make his NFL debut against the Lions on Monday Night.

Here are how some other highly drafted Jets QBs did in their starting debuts.

Joe Namath

Drafted No. 1 overall, 1965

The future Hall of Famer made his first start in Week 3 at the Bills on Sept. 26, 1965. He completed 19 of 40 passes for 287 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in a 33-21 loss.

Al Woodall

Drafted No. 52 overall, 1969

Woodall sat for his rookie season and made his starting debut on Oct. 25, 1970, against the Bills as an injury replacement for Namath. He completed 7 of 16 passes for 63 yards and an interception. The Jets had 86 total yards of offense in a 10-6 loss at Shea Stadium.

Richard Todd

Drafted No. 6 overall, 1976

Todd got the start for a 1-6 Jets team on Oct. 31, 1976, against the Bills in Week 8. He completed 6 of 20 passes for 87 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions, but the Jets won, 19-14, thanks to Steve Poole's blocked punt return for a touchdown and two field goals by Pat Leahy.

Ken O’Brien

Drafted No. 24 overall, 1983

O’Brien, a future two-time Pro Bowler, did not play in his rookie season. Instead, he made his much-anticipated starting debut on Nov. 11, 1984, against the Oilers in Week 12. O’Brien completed 19 of 36 passes for 226 yards and an interception in the Jets’ 31-20 loss in Houston.

Browning Nagle

Drafted No. 34 overall, 1991

Nagle didn’t start his rookie season but was named the starter for the 1992 season. The Jets fell to the Falcons, 20-17, in the season opener at Atlanta, but Nagle threw for 366 yards and two touchdowns on 21-for-37 passing. His career went downhill from there, though – the 366 yards ended up being his career high, and his two touchdowns (tied for his career high) accounted for 25 percent of his career TD passes.

Chad Pennington

Drafted No. 18 overall, 2000

Pennington sat behind Vinny Testaverde for more than two seasons and didn’t get his first start until Week 5 of the 2002 season. He completed 22 of 29 passes for 237 yards, two touchdowns and an interception as the Jets lost to the visiting Chiefs, 29-25.

Kellen Clemens

Drafted No. 49 overall, 2006

Clemens sat behind Pennington for his rookie season and made his starting debut in Week 2 of the 2007 season after Pennington suffered a high ankle sprain in the season opener.  He completed 19 of 37 passes for 260 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions as the Jets fell to the Ravens, 20-13, in Baltimore.

Mark Sanchez

Drafted No. 5 overall, 2009

Sanchez won the starting job out of training camp and made his debut in Week 1 of the 2009 season at Houston. He completed 18 of 31 passes for 272 yards, one touchdown and one interception as the Jets beat the Texans, 24-7, in Houston.

Geno Smith

Drafted No. 39 overall, 2013

Smith was thrust into the starting job during training camp after Sanchez suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in the fourth quarter of a preseason game against the Giants. He completed 24 of 38 passes for 256 yards, one touchdown and one interception and orchestrated the game-winning drive in the final minute of an 18-17 Week 1 win over the Buccaneers at MetLife Stadium.

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