A season ago, Joe Burrow parlayed one year as the starting quarterback at LSU to become the top pick of the NFL Draft. In 2021, BYU’s Zach Wilson is looking to do something very similar, turning a standout season into becoming a top selection.
Despite being a three-year starter at BYU, Wilson ascended this last season and is now the consensus second-best quarterback in the draft after Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence. That makes it highly likely that Wilson be the pick for the New York Jets at second overall.
The selection does bring some risk for Jets general manager Joe Douglas. Questions ranging from the level of competition at BYU to the lack of tape as Wilson has just a single season where he performed at the level of being a first-round pick cloud this quarterback prospect’s draft outlook.
“I would say, when you go back into the process, in terms of Joe [Burrow], you have to have a comfort level on why was it a one year, where there’s a lot of circumstances that go into it, whether it’s a transfer, whether it’s an injury,” Douglas told reporters in a press conference on Thursday.
“There’s a lot of different factors that go into it. And ultimately at the end of the day, you lean on your staff, you lean on your eyes when you’re watching the tape to make the best decision you can. There’s a lot of good quarterbacks in this draft.
“There’s a lot of good quarterbacks that have gone through adverse situations and whether it’s been transfers, whether it’s been injuries. It’s not specific to only one quarterback in this draft. So, obviously, the NFL game is going to present a lot of adversity. And so you want to see how these young men have handled it so far because that’s usually a good precursor to how they’re going to handle adversity in the National Football League.”
And while Wilson has three years of tape, like Burrow he has only his final college season as a foundation for his projections at the NFL level. Burrow was a transfer to LSU from Ohio State and was taken No. 1 overall last year by the Cincinnati Bengals. Wilson took a tremendous step forward in 2020 in terms of production.
The Jets have cleared room for the presumptive selection of Wilson, trading Sam Darnold this offseason to the Carolina Panthers.
In Wilson, there is plenty of promise and hype. In 2020, he passed for 3,692 yards on a 73.5 percent completion percentage with 33 touchdowns and three interceptions.
His roughest outing was against Coastal Carolina, which finished the season ranked No. 14 in the AP top 25. In the 22-17 loss, Wilson was 19 of 30 for 240 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
It was the quarterback’s only game this past season where he didn’t have multiple touchdown passes.
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