Moments after he was selected by the Jets with the No. 2 pick of the NFL draft, Zach Wilson made a promise about the kind of teammate and leader he was going to be in New York.
"I’m a big believer in bringing the guys around you together, having a strong connection with them. That’s a leader," Wilson said last month. "I’m going to be the man that they can look up to, they can call for any advice, any help that they ever need."
It hasn't taken long for Wilson to prove that he meant it.
As different members of New York's 2021 draft class have addressed the media this week, progressing through the first few days of rookie minicamp, several have spoken about the franchise's new quarterback and how he's taken the time to reach out and get to know them.
Second-rounder Elijah Moore, who could end up as one of Wilson's favorite targets, said the quarterback messaged him the night he was picked. They've been talking almost every single day since then.
"He wrote me on social media, saying he was pumped and then he texted me to say how fired up he was," Moore said on Friday. "Just talking to him on the phone, I could tell he's like a general and just by what he was saying, he's super excited to be here as well, his passion comes out through the phone."
Wilson has already gobbled up highlights of new teammates, from those he'll be working with on the offensive side of the ball to the players that will hold it down on the defensive end.
"You kind of expect that from a guy like Zach," fellow first-rounder Alijah Vera-Tucker said Friday. "For him to hit up most of the rookies, that was a good feeling. Just knows he wants to get to know us, wants to bring us all in and turn this organization around."
Wilson and the Jets have a long way to go before this two-win team transforms into a contender, but the BYU product is exactly what head coach Robert Saleh has been looking for. Asked specifically about Wilson's presence, messaging new teammates and establishing those relationships, the head coach turned it into an assessment of all the players he and general manager Joe Douglas have added this offseason.
"We want guys who absolutely love football and he's a guy who loves football," Saleh explained. "When you love football, and I'm not just talking about Zack, but the entire free agency class, the entire draft class, these guys really love football. So when you have a love for football, you're going to do everything you can to help yourself not only get better at it, but you're going to do everything you can to protect it, which means you're off to field stuff is going to be right."
If that's hyping up his new on-field brothers, showing them that he has their back before even meeting in person, then Wilson is doing one heck of a job already.
"It was mostly 'I'm excited to have you on my team, I think you're a hell of a player and I can't wait to get to work,'" said rookie running back Michael Carter, walking through the message he got from Wilson. "He's very positive. He's not afraid to speak up, show his persona ... People want to follow people that are genuine and know that they want the best for them. So I can already tell just off the bat that he wants the best for the people around them. And he wants the best for the team."
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