Here is my 100% honest assessment and outlook on Sam Darnold. I'm trying to be as objective as I can be. This might get long and some may repeat things I've said previously. I've wanted to write this for a few weeks even if no one wants or cares to read it.
In my opinion Sam is naturally polarizing at this point because his game is so esthetically memorable. His good plays and stretches are better than any Jets QB I can remember since becoming a fan as a kid in the early 90s.
On the flip side, his bad is just head scratching bad. I am to the point where I watch each game now with an underlying sense of nervousness that he's going to make that cringeworthy interception. I pretty much accept it that its going to happen. I don't particularly like that feeling, and I try not to think that way, but it's a result of previous outcomes.
Overall, I think Sam's positives outweigh his negatives, even though his negatives are more eye popping. Sam's biggest hindrance is his decision making. I personally don't think it's an "intelligence" issue from the stand point of reading defenses etc. I actually think Sam is good at reading coverages. What I don't think he is smart at is processing the risk of certain plays. Sam has to learn that not every play is worth extending. Not every play is going to be a plus. Sometimes a sack is better than risking a throw etc, etc.
I think it's naive to think that Darnold will ever completely rid himself off that issue. The good news is he can still become a very good QB even if he doesn't. As long as those plays come fewer and father between, he'll be fine. I certainly think that is possible. Some may consider this an excuse, but I think as the roster gets better (hopefully) around him, that helps limit these as he won't feel as much pressure to "make plays" as others will be making plays too. Just general maturation will help to an extent as well.
Everyone like to compare Darnold to people. I don't know how to best frame this, but the player I see most is actually Eli Manning. From a physical tools standpoint they are very different. However they both have that polarizing Jeckyl and Hide thing. At their best, they are very very good. At their worst, it looks like a train wreck.
The question is could you handle a more mobile Eli Manning the next 10 years?