As the 2021 NFL Draft approaches, all eyes are on the New York Jets quarterback room, as fans are left wondering how the Saleh/Douglas regime will attack the position. Will ‘Gang Green’ roll with incumbent signal caller Sam Darnold? Is a franchise altering trade for Deshaun Watson on the cards?
The most likely outcome is that Douglas turns to this talented draft class and resets the rookie QB clock. With Trevor Lawrence likely landing in Jacksonville, the best option for the Jets, in this writer’s humble opinion, is BYU junior Zach Wilson. The talented and charismatic QB had a breakout season, bouncing back from a 2019 campaign where he was recovering from shoulder and hand surgeries. Wilson compiled 43 total TD’s for the Cougars, whist only throwing 3 interceptions (one of those was on a a hail mary).
With that being said, let’s dive into my full scouting report on Zach Wilson:
Wilson is outstanding at sliding within the pocket to avoid interior pressure and find a throwing lane. Very reminiscent of Baker Mayfield at OU. At times, he does escape the pocket quicker that I would like, however overall, he excels in this area.
Ample arm strength and talent. Wilson has the ability to drive the ball from the far hash mark to the opposite side-line. He can make every NFL-caliber throw, without having a “Josh Allen” arm.
Dynamic and deadly accurate outside of the pocket. Wilson is outstanding off-script once the designed play has failed to produce results. His ability to roll out (particularly to his right), keep his eyes downfield and make big-time throws is special. Squares his shoulders to the target and has loose, active hips.
Wilson’s deep ball accuracy is second to none. He can drop it in the bucket with absurd touch and also understands how to lead his WR into space, without engaging the S (watch the WKU game).
His willingness to throw from multiple arm angles is a big strength. At times, Zach looks like a SS turning a double play. This allows Wilson to excel in RPO situations. In conjunction with this, he has + mobility and can be a weapon in Read-Option packages (10 rushing TDs in 2020).
Wilson can be a little loose and over-confident with the football. When extending the play, he often leaves the ball away from his frame, at risk of fumbling. No look passes, shovels and similar have inherent risk.
Decision making and the ability to avoid turnover worthy plays, is what separates Wilson from many other QB prospects. While he has the elite playmaking skills, he minimises risk. That translates well at the next level.
Footwork is fairly consistent but can be refined with NFL coaching. At times he can get happy feet at the top of his drop and take an unnecessary step or two. Will hop/bounce, which can throw off the timing on intermediate routes.
Mental processing and ability to progress through reads is pleasing. Wilson rarely got stuck on his primary/1st read. He also has that internal clock, which helps him to avoid taking sacks and stay ahead of the sticks.
In summary, Zach Wilson is a tremendous prospect, who can win from inside or outside the pocket. He has Baker Mayfield qualities in the pocket, moves similarly to Manziel and has the play-making ability of (I hate to say this) Mahomes outside of structure. For me, Wilson is a clear QB2 with a chance to be a top 10-12 QB in a hurry.