The New York Jets took Zach Wilson with the second overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Here’s why the young QB thinks he can be the best in the league.
The New York Jets probably didn’t get the rookie season they envisioned from their number two overall pick. During his first year, Zach Wilson really struggled at times and wins were scarce.
Thrust into a less-than-ideal situation, Wilson was supposed to be a noticeable and instant upgrade over a disappointing Sam Darnold from the previous seasons. In 2020, Darnold led the Jes to just a 2-10 record during his 12-game stretch as the team’s starter.
Sadly, Wilson was able to improve upon that by just one win — going 3-10 as a rookie. Fans admittedly had high hopes for the former second overall pick from the 2021 NFL Draft, but he didn’t quite live up to expectations early on.
In his first NFL season, Wilson recorded just 2,334 passing yards to go with 9 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. His 55.6 completion percentage and 69.7 passer rating were both among the lowest in the league last year, via Pro Football Reference.
Now entering his second season, the former highly-touted NFL Draft prospect is hoping to live up to his pre-draft hype. Now only does he think he can do that, but Zach Wilson apparently thinks he can be the best quarterback in the league, according to Jets head coach, Robert Selah.
You can’t fault Wilson for setting his goals high but talk about challenging aspirations. It is going to require quite the turnaround in his performance to go from one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL (statistically) to one of the best. But is this even close to attainable?
Wilson doesn’t lack the traits to be the best QB
There are dozens of things that Zach Wilson needs to work on if he wants to someday be the best quarterback in the league. He needs to feel the pocket better, go through his progressions, and deliver the ball on time. However, one thing that the young quarterback doesn’t lack is the physical traits to make this happen.
Despite his below-average size for a QB (6’2 1/4”, 214 lbs.), Wilson has a cannon attached to his right shoulder and is able to make any NFL throw from any angle. As we have seen in recent years from players like Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen, this is an incredibly valuable skill to possess.
Wilson’s niche could also be his ability to extend the play and keep his eyes down the field. This is something that he did exceptionally well at BYU prior to entering the NFL Draft early. Though he’s not a runner, Wilson is a plus athlete who can elide defenders to make some massive plays down the field. We saw this more often later in his rookie season.
Tools-wise, Wilson isn’t lacking anything. Now Selah and the Jets are trying to make sure Wilson has every opportunity to succeed. Over the past two offseasons, the Jets loaded up on offensive line talent and skill players to help bring success the success that Darnold never had in New York.
Players like Garrett Wilson, Breece Hall, Elijah Moore, and Corey Davis should give Wilson plenty of options in the passing game. Likewise, New York has strengthened their defense (at last on paper) in an effort to not ask so much from Wilson on the offensive side of the ball.
It’s probably pretty unreasonable to expect Zach Wilson to make a big enough turnaround to become the best quarterback in the league, but he’s certainly not lacking the physical gifts to help him get there. Now with a much more talented roster, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a big improvement in his play in his second NFL season.