New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson has struggled mightily since being drafted No.2 overall in the 2021 NFL draft. He’s been benched, displayed immaturity following losses, and his overall performance has been nothing to write home about.
Things got so bad at one point this season that Jets players were wearing the shirt of backup Mike White as the team boarded their plane for a road game. It was a clear indication of which quarterback the team wanted behind center.
Is Zach Wilson The Jets QB Of The Future?
But team brass has been adamant that Wilson is their franchise quarterback and they’re going to do whatever it takes to fix him. In fact, during Wednesday’s post-practice media session, head coach Robert Saleh talked at length about Wilson’s future with the Jets and why he’ll be a healthy scratch for the team’s season finale against the division rival Dolphins.
“Go read a book, go do something, get away from this game, just reset,” Saleh said. “I think the greatest gift you can give yourself as a human is to figure out what’s important to you. What do you value and how can you stick to those values day in and day out?
“This is the greatest gift you can give yourself, is to discover yourself. I think Zach needs to get away, read a book and figure that out.”
Does Jets Head Coach Robert Saleh Still Believe In Zach Wilson?
Saleh still believes in his 23-year-old quarterback and hopes that him maturing will work out some of the kinks in his struggles.
“Zach has all the talent in the world, and we have all the confidence in the world in him,” Saleh said. “It’s just, like I said, a reset. We’re going to grind with him. We are. Through hell or high water, we’re going to figure out how to get him where we know he can be.”
That’s easier said than done with Wilson, who’s gone 8-14 in 22 NFL starts. In those starts he’s passed for just 4,022 yards with 15 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. In all honesty, Wilson just doesn’t look the part.
Is Zach Wilson A Bust?
What Jets brass did at the 2021 NFL Combine and BYU pro day are exactly what you hope to avoid when scouting a prospective quarterback. They fell in love with a guy who made all these unbelievable throws in shorts and a t-shirt, with no defense attempting to thwart him.
March 26, 2021 ➡️ August 1, 2022
Pretty cool to see the direct correlation between Zach Wilson's viral pro day throw and today's throw from practice. pic.twitter.com/m4kAvbKI6P
— Ethan Greenberg (@EGreenbergJets) August 1, 2022
Those type of throws, in those conditions, are not something you can hang your hat on as an organization in search of a franchise signal-caller. As of now, improvisation is really all that Wilson does on an above average level. He struggles to read defenses even with the reads dummied down to basically one per route. At BYU he excelled against so-so competition, but if the Jets really did their homework, they would have noticed one game that in essence proves Wilson shouldn’t have been chosen second overall.
A late season loss to an overachieving and less talented Coastal Carolina team in his final season at BYU showed some real holes in Wilson’s game. His threw for 241 yards, one touchdown and one interception, miserably failing to light it up against the best defense he faced in his collegiate career.
Zach Wilson vs Coastal Carolina, good or bad?
— Matt O'Leary (@MattOLearyNY) April 10, 2021
Do Jets Regret Not Drafting Justin Fields?
In drafting Wilson, the Jets passed on current Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, who was clearly the best QB in the 2021 NFL draft. Fields had just led the Buckeyes to the CFP championship game after torching Clemson for six touchdown passes.
Fields wasn’t as dynamic against Alabama in the title game, but he was also playing with broken ribs suffered against Clemson. The level of competition Wilson faced paled in comparison to the powerhouses that Fields faced in the Big Ten and CFP.
Imagine if Fields, who is void of weapons in Chicago, had the likes of Jets running back Breece Hall and wideouts Garrett Wilson, Corey Davis, and Elijah Moore. The Jets’ 22nd-ranked offense (27th in points per game at 18.1) would probably be twice as effective.
If Wilson is to ever get the job done with the Jets, it’s going to take some real time. But in the opinion of many that ship has sailed and maybe the franchise needs to be looking at bringing in a proven veteran such as Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. The Jets have a playoff defense and an offense a QB short of being a real playoff contender.