A lot of questions have been raised regarding the likely No. 2 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Zach Wilson of BYU.
One of them is completely beyond his control.
Wilson was born in Draper, Utah which has a population of 48,000 people. If he’s selected by the New York Jets he would immediately be plugged into the biggest media market in the world. How is a small town kid going to handle that?
Before we even really know 100 percent if he’s even coming to the green and white, Wilson has already started doing his own homework.
According to NFL Network reporter Aditi Kinkhabwala, the 21-year-old is not only preparing to be a franchise quarterback at the next level. He’s preparing to be the New York Jets franchise quarterback.
While it’s true he’s from a small town and a much smaller market, he’s doing what he can to learn as much as possible about what it takes to be a quarterback in the big apple. Wilson spent time speaking with a slew of ex-Jets quarterbacks including Mark Sanchez, Josh McCown, and Chad Pennington to get a better feel for the market, media, and expectations.
Zach Wilson is preparing not just to be a franchise QB, but to be the #Jets franchise QB. His QB coach, John Beck, told me Wilson has picked the brains of Chad Pennington, Josh McCown and Mark Sanchez on all things re the club, the market, the media
— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) April 22, 2021
So who is Zach Wilson?
Depending on which NFL Draft analyst you speak with you’re likely going to receive a different answer on his pro player comparison.
Some have suggested he’s a “more aggressive Derek Carr.” While others have thrown around names like Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers. We’ve heard “a taller Kyler Murray.” Maybe a “higher ceiling” Baker Mayfield.
What the New York Jets need is a bonafide franchise quarterback. Zach Wilson doesn’t have to be any of those pro-player comps, he just has to be himself.
They thought they had a franchise QB when they selected Sam Darnold out of USC with the third overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, but it wasn’t meant to be. There was hope for Geno Smith. Mark Sanchez had a good run. Christian Hackenberg… well never mind.
Wilson is better set up for long-term success than any ex-Jets quarterback that has come before him.
Joe Douglas has 21 selections combined over the next two years of NFL Drafts. The coaching staff is new and relatively unproven but is overflowing with optimism led by promising figures on both sides of the ball in Robert Saleh and Mike LaFleur.
Pre-2021 NFL Draft the Jets have better weapons at wide receiver than Sam Darnold ever had with Corey Davis, Denzel Mims, and Jamison Crowder. That’s before the draft and doesn’t include anything that could be added to that group next week.
Now the situation isn’t perfect, there are still plenty of holes to fill on this roster. It all starts upfront in the trenches. Currently, the Jets have the same starting five offensive linemen that ranked fourth-worst in the NFL last year, per PFF. That’s simply not good enough.
But the fact of the matter is, Zach Wilson can’t control any of that. He doesn’t play a part in the cards he was dealt, but he can handle how he deals with everything.
From everything we know about the kid, it seems like he’s handling everything the right way and has the proper temperament to fit right in with the Jets if that’s where he ends up on draft day.