New York Jets: Is Zach Wilson the answer?

2021 NFL Mock Draft. Mandatory Credit: Rick Bowmer/Pool Photo-USA TODAY NETWORK
2021 NFL Mock Draft. Mandatory Credit: Rick Bowmer/Pool Photo-USA TODAY NETWORK /

The New York Jets have shown interest in BYU’s Zach Wilson as the No. 2 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. But can he be the answer to the team’s quarterback woes?

For all intents and purposes, the Sam Darnold era is over for the New York Jets. And with the second overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, there’s been increasing buzz that general manager Joe Douglas will choose BYU quarterback Zach Wilson to be Darnold’s successor under center.

Wilson came out of nowhere in 2020 after having pedestrain 2018 and 2019 seasons. A big reason for his jump in production was due to an increasing number of outside zone plays in the offensive scheme. Running an outside zone scheme can create opportunities for huge plays in the passing game.

New Jets offensive coordinator, Mike LaFleur, comes from a Kyle Shanahan tree that is also quite famous for running an outside zone scheme. More importantly, New York went out and got weapons to support this scheme in free agency. Corey Davis comes from the Titans, who also deploy a run-heavy offense utilizing a lot of play action. Tevin Coleman was another addition with experience in an offense the Jets plan to imitate.

In this scheme, the ability to roll out and make plays is a benefit, one that Wilson has. He’ll also need to utilize it in New York. The Jets offensive line has been porous, grading as a bottom-five unit in the NFL over the last two years by PFF (subscription required). They’ve done little to address the position in free agency, so it’s hard to expect those numbers to change.

Not only can Wilson make plays on the run but his arm, in general, is something to be enamored by. He can make every type of throw, regardless of body position and angle, and do it with tremendous accuracy. In 2020, Wilson had the highest passing grade by a quarterback in the last four years when throwing to a receiver who had less than a step of separation, per PFF.

Wilson showed off his incredible arm during his Pro Day, where he tossed a 40+ yard throw across his body while fading towards the opposite direction of the throw.

These are the type of throws that Wilson has made his name off of while at BYU. It’s a large reason why fans, scouts, and executives are enamored by the prospect in this year’s NFL Draft.

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Having an offensive coordinator who will also play to his strengths will only further his development into becoming a successful NFL quarterback. And it indeed seems that the New York Jets may have finally found their man under center.