Was he or wasn’t he a team captain?
That was the question that NFL evaluators were pondering in the lead-up to the 2021 NFL draft regarding former BYU quarterback Zach Wilson.
The controversy started when ESPN NFL draft analyst Todd McShay reported on ‘Get Up’ back in February that Wilson “wasn’t voted as a team captain” which Rich Cimini suggested could be a “red flag.”
This immediately created flashbacks for NFL draft fans to the movie ‘Draft Day.’ In the film, the top fictional quarterback prospect, Bo Callahan, didn’t have his teammates show up to his 21st birthday which raised apparent red flags about his character and leadership.
Despite that report being shot down by BYU Football offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Aaron Roderick, that false narrative has continued to stay alive:
— Paul Andrew Esden Jr (@BoyGreen25) February 12, 2021
Creating a New Narrative
It appears Wilson is creating a brand new narrative one playoff hockey game at a time.
11 players on the Jets roster decided to support the New York Islanders in person for Game 4 of the first-round Stanley Cup playoff series. The Islanders ended up winning the contest 4-1, but the real story was what transpired in the stands.
ESPN NFL insider Field Yates shared a viral clip of Jets backup offensive lineman Dan Feeney sporting an “elite mullet” while pounding back a cold one in the middle of the game:
Jets OL Dan Feeney with the most elite mullet while chugging a beer at the Islanders game. What a beauty. pic.twitter.com/JcaqbriQQU
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) May 22, 2021
This begs the question, have we completely overlooked Feeney as a potential cornerstone of this Gang Green offensive line heading into 2021?
Probably not, but he’s certainly a fun guy to invite to a party.
Feeney is entering his fifth professional season and first with the Jets. The seasoned veteran has played in 63 games and started in 57 of those. He has prior experience at both center and left guard, but if he hopes to start his true path to playing time is at right guard.
Alijah Vera-Tucker, one of two first-round picks for the Jets, is slated to take over at left guard. While veteran center Connor McGovern has the center position on lock.
Here are the other players on the roster expected to compete with Feeney for the void at right guard:
- Greg Van Roten
- Alex Lewis
- Cam Clark
- Chuma Edoga
- Tristen Hoge
Regardless of whether or not he’s able to steal one of the starting spots on the team, one thing is certain, Feeney became a fan-favorite over the weekend.
A Rejuvenated Feeling Around the Building
This could certainly be a side effect of being a prisoner of the moment, but something feels different on one Jets drive.
The former BYU passer has made a concerted effort to build chemistry with his teammates on and off the field since getting selected No. 2 overall in the 2021 NFL draft.
Things you love to see: Zach Wilson and Elijah Moore bonding on and off the field. pic.twitter.com/GqLsvh3Ur9
— Jet Up Nation (@jetupnationcrew) May 11, 2021
Wilson was seen bonding at a local Italian restaurant with Jets’ second-round pick (No. 34 overall) former Ole Miss wide receiver Elijah Moore.
— Justin Gray (@JGrayJets) May 12, 2021
Wilson has organized some informal workouts with some of his offensive weapons. He also still plans on setting up something formally in July ahead of training camp with the majority of his weapons.
Zach Wilson hanging out with his fellow rookies😂😂
— Cool Your Jets (@CYJpod) May 19, 2021
Jets sixth-round cornerback Brandin Echols out of Kentucky was recently on Instagram live and guess who, a certain former BYU stud was shown having some fun with his teammates off the field.
None of this guarantees that Wilson will finally end the quarterback drought for the Jets, but it certainly inspires hope that this time will be different.