NY Jets: Zach Wilson makes his case to be the team’s next quarterback

NY Jets, Zach Wilson Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
NY Jets, Zach Wilson Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

The NY Jets could target BYU quarterback Zach Wilson in the 2021 NFL Draft.

The NY Jets might have a difficult decision to make at the quarterback position this offseason. But BYU quarterback Zach Wilson did his best to make that decision a little easier with his performance this past Tuesday.

For the vast majority of the season to this point, the Jets seemingly had an easy choice to make this offseason. With the team in-line for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, it seemed like a lock that they would select Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence.

Lawrence is widely regarded as one of the best quarterback prospects the league has ever seen and whichever team had the fortune of selecting first overall would surely run to the podium with their selection.

However, following the Jets’ shocking Week 15 victory over the Los Angeles Rams, they’re no longer slotted to pick first. Instead, the Jets will be holding out hope for a Jacksonville Jaguars victory over the last two weeks of the season.

But assuming the Jets end up picking second overall, they will have an interesting decision to make.

Do you stick with Sam Darnold? Do you draft his replacement in the form of Ohio State’s Justin Fields? Or do you opt to target the fast-rising Zach Wilson out of BYU? Maybe you even look to trade down.

All options are on the table, but Wilson did his best to sway the opinion of Jets’ brass this past week.

Wilson and the Cougars took on a mediocre UCF team in the 2020 Boca Raton Bowl on Tuesday, and the junior QB wasted little time establishing who the dominant team was.

BYU went on to win 49-23 on the back of five total touchdowns from their quarterback as Wilson finished 26-of-34 for 425 yards and three touchdowns while adding an additional two scores on the ground.

It was a dominant performance by a player who barely even registered as a blip on the radar of scouts entering the season. Few players have managed to improve their draft stock as much as Wilson has this year.

And now, as we approach the new year, there is a legitimate conversation about who is the second-best quarterback in this class behind Lawrence.

Fields appeared like the clear-cut choice for a while, and he still could reclaim that title, but you’d be hard-pressed to argue that it isn’t Wilson now after his impressive stretch of performances.

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The 21-year-old has the innate arm talent and athleticism that few players possess — especially at his age. He is a confident thrower with a quick release, and most importantly, he has the special “it factor” that screams superstar.

Of course, there are concerns with his decision-making and his tendency to play hero ball. Wilson is a gunslinger through and through. His ability to extend plays is a positive trait, but also serves as a detriment from time to time.

Wilson is the riskier, gamble pick. With only one-year of elite production and a lengthy prior injury history (although he’s been healthy in 2020), the Jets would be hedging their future on Wilson continuing to perform how he has this season.

At the end of the day, however, it’s still too early to make any decisions. Not only because the draft order hasn’t even been finalized, but because Fields still has to play in the College Football Playoff.

The Ohio State quarterback has time to prove why he should be the undisputed QB2 in this class behind Lawrence. And he could do that by defeating Lawrence and the Clemson Tigers on New Year’s Day.

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Either way, Wilson has made his case. And best believe the Jets have taken notice.