Zach Wilson was asked during his introductory press conference last week if there was ever any criticism that he thought was particularly unfair throughout his pre-draft process.
The No. 2 pick smiled.
"Well, just the fact everyone thought I was six feet [tall]. I mean, that was a little harsh," he said, laughing.
As it turns out, all jokes aside, the Jets weren't messing around when evaluating Wilson's size before taking him second overall in the NFL draft. In fact, they took quite the unique approach to make sure Wilson was big enough to pass that test.
Here's Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer with more (from this week's MMQB):
Back on March 29, at BYU’s pro day, with the Niners-Dolphins trade going down, Zach Wilson getting ready to throw and the tectonic plates of the 2021 draft shifting, Jets coach Robert Saleh ran down BYU alum Fred Warner, his former star middle linebacker from San Francisco, with a bit of a weird request.
Warner was there to support Wilson and the rest of the Cougars trying to make their case to all the NFL teams there that day. He also served as a human measuring stick.
Hey Fred, can you go give Zach a hug real quick?
The first-team All-Pro obliged his old defensive coordinator, and in doing so helped Saleh, GM Joe Douglas and offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur put the final piece in place for the Jets’ decision on what to do with the second pick. The 6' 3", 230-pound Warner is roughly the same size as Patrick Mahomes, and, as he approached Wilson, who’d faced questions about his size, the Jets’ brass could actually see it.
Wilson was eye-to-eye with Warner, he had broad shoulders that measured up with a linebacker’s and confirmed what the Jets came in believing: that he had plenty of room to grow physically and could eventually show himself to be like the other big people in his family (his dad was a Utah defensive tackle, and he has one brother who’s a BYU linebacker and another who’s verbally committed to be one in 2022).
How about that?
When we all look back on Wilson going to the Jets a decade from now—with New York potentially turning into a contender and Wilson blossoming at the next level—we'll know that it all started with a hug. The rest is history.
- What Quinnen Williams' Broken Foot Means For the Jets
- Breaking Down the Jets' 2021 Undrafted Free Agent Signings
- Jets Have 'Dominant' Duo Up Front in Alijah Vera-Tucker, Mekhi Becton