by Christian Mott
The 2021 NFL Draft was a big one for BYU as three prospects heard their names called in the last round, with a fourth picked up as a undrafted free agent. It was exciting time for Cougars fans to see their favorite go and try to succeed in the NFL. One name in particular stands out: the number two overall pick Zach Wilson.
The Cinderella story of 2020 enters one of if not the most hostile sports environments in America in the Big Apple. With the media raising the already high expectations, it is time to see what the realistic expectations should be for him in year one. On top of that, football analyst and film junkie Nick Chandler gives his reason why Zach is the pick with the biggest boom (or bust) potential from this 2021 NFL Draft.
Zach Wilson – QB
Drafted: No: 2 overall | Team: New York Jets
The talk of the 2020 college football season was heavily focused on this man. Entering the 2020 season, Wilson went from barely on the board to a can’t miss prospect. With a rocket arm and the ability to throw off any platform, it’s no surprise that Joe Douglas was salivating at the mouth after his amazing pro-day.
He is off a year where he showed a Patrick Mahomes style of throwing ability. That is a key reason why he was picked where he was. The situation he is walking into though is unique one. The Jets are completely re-imagining the identity of their team. They have a first-year head coach in Robert Saleh and Joe Douglas having the first real opportunity to shape the team in his image. A big plus side for Wilson is the West Coast system implemented by Packers coach Matt Lafleur. On top of that, no fellow quarterback on the roster has yet to throw an NFL pass. It’s clear that one thing is certain: Zach wilson is the quarterback that the Jets will live or die with.
“Zach Wilson is the biggest boom or bust in a while,” Nick Chandler said. “It sounds like a broken record but it’s undeniable his arm is a rocket. He just makes all the throws you want him to. He throws high arch, deep balls etc.”
One biggest issue Chandler points out is also Wilson’s strength.
“The thing is, he has so much trust in his arm that sometimes he forces it into places where it shouldn’t go,” Nick said. “Overall in my opinion he will be good, but I think if you’re the Jets, you gotta try and grab a veteran and let Zach learn.”
Fans of Wilson from his college days at BYU Jets fans who hungry to know how he will do should realize there are some serious expectations that Wilson needs to be held accountable for. Wilson’s success is just as much in the hands of Robert Saleh and the rest of the Jets’ staff. Additionally, they have made new additions from breakout wide receiver Corey Davis to a vastly improved offensive line.
The New York Jets should want to see certain things from him. Like most good quarterbacks, he needs to take care of the ball, be efficient and hopefully be a leader when needed. With that being said, being stuck in the loaded AFC east where three of the top 10 defenses lie will definitely cause growing pains. As with most quarterbacks, fans need to expect growing pains. There might even be a bad year or two to start. The key is to see him get a better rhythm as the season progresses. If the Jets can stay competitive and even win 5-7 games then I think the Jets will be satisfied with year one. When the season is complete, don’t be surprised if Wilson is in the rookie of the year conversation or even the favorite.
Featured image courtesy Kathy Willens, Associated Press