The Jacksonville Jaguars may not have their next general manager or even head coach currently in the building, but that doesn't change where the franchise should divert its attention on Saturday.
While the roster and coaching staff make a trip up north to Minnesota in an attempt to snap a 10-game losing streak, the Jaguars' entire college scouting department, and even the team's ownership, should fixate their eyes on one game: BYU vs. Coastal Carolina at 5:30 p.m. on ESPNU.
BYU, who is No. 13 in College Football Playoff Rankings, will be led by star quarterback Zach Wilson as they attempt to knock off the No. 18 ranked Chanticleers. And Wilson is exactly why the Jaguars should have their eyes glued to the screens this evening.
With Jacksonville currently slotted to pick No. 2 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, Wilson is one of three quarterback prospects they will need to do extensive homework on in the coming months. While many will claim the Jaguars aren't locked into drafting a quarterback, the writing has been on the wall for weeks and was confirmed even further this week when Doug Marrone opted to start Mike Glennon over a healthy Gardner Minshew II.
Trevor Lawrence is obviously the cream of the crop when it comes 2021 quarterback prospects, but the Jaguars landing him is a pipedream unless they find a way to get in front of the winless New York Jets in the draft order.
As a result, Wilson joins Ohio State's Justin Fields and North Dakota State's Trey Lance as the next best consolation prizes.
In nine games this year, Wilson has completed 176-of-237 passes (74.3% completion) for 2,724 yards (11.5 yards per attempt, 13.3 adjusted yards per attempt), along with 26 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. This has given him a 205.3 passing rating. He is a dual-threat as well, using his quickness to record 51 rushes for 191 yards (3.7 yards per carry) and 8 touchdowns.
Wilson has just two games all season where he has completed fewer than 71% of his passes, while only having a rating of below 205 twice: a 177.1 rating vs. Texas San-Antonio and a 139.7 rating vs. Western Kentucky. He is third in the nation in completion percentage, touchdown passes, yards per attempt, adjusted yards per attempt, and passing efficiency rating
But if there is anything Wilson hasn't done this year, it is facing a marquee opponent. The Jaguars will have plenty of tape of Fields against Power 5 opponents, but the same can't be said for Wilson or Lance.
Wilson has been remarkable this season, but BYU's schedule has been one of the easier ones in the nation. Before this afternoon, they will have played Navy, Troy, Louisiana Tech, Texas San-Antonio, Houston, Texas State, Western Kentucky, Boise State, and North Alabama. Boise State is the only ranked team among this group, painting a picture to some that Wilson is having his historic season against a cupcake schedule.
Wilson shouldn't be dinged for his schedule since he can only control what he does, but if the lack of top competition is a question teams like the Jaguars and others at the top of the draft have to answer, then there is no reason they shouldn't watch today's game against a good Coastal Carolina team.
Coastal Carolina has made an identity on offense this season, but their defense has been equally impressive. This is good news for those who want to see Wilson thrive against a high-quality opponent. Below is where Coastal Carolina ranks in the nation in defensive stats.
- Points per game allowed: No. 10
- Yards per game allowed: No. 14
- Points per play allowed: No. 12
Coastal Carolina is far from an elite opponent, but they are a good team and are the toughest draw Wilson will see all season. As the Jaguars debate whether he or someone else is the right triggerman to be their new franchise quarterback, there is perhaps no game more important on the entire college football calendar. And as a result, the Jaguars should ensure they watch every second.