New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson arrived in the summer with many holding high expectations for the second-year passer in an improved environment. Unfortunately, it didn’t take very long for things to unravel for the 2nd pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
The Jets built a better supporting cast for Wilson during the offseason. New York signed guard Laken Tomlinson, drafted wide receiver Garrett Wilson with the 10th pick and many expected reasonable progression from Wilson in his second year under Mike LaFleur.
However, Wilson delivered frustrating inconsistency in training camp. For as many good moments he delivered, putting his tantalizing physical tools on display, he also made inexcusable decisions and missed simple reads in practices. New York hoped that reps in the preseason would help iron out the issues.
Instead, he suffered a bone bruise and required surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his right knee. New York initially hoped Wilson could start in Week 1, but then head coach Robert Saleh decided the young signal-caller will miss the first four weeks of the regular season.
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While the Jets said they are simply playing it safe with their 2021 first-round pick, many around the NFL viewed it differently. Gregg Rosenthal of NFL Network described it as a “benching” and it’s left other NFL insiders with a feeling of uncertainty.
Answering a question about the 2021 quarterback class, Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated explained why he still has some reservations about Wilson as the Jets’ franchise quarterback.
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It’s certainly fair to say New York is in an uncomfortable position right now. Whenever Wilson returns, he’ll likely be starting behind an offensive line that is already on its third-string right tackle at the beginning of the season. New York’s play-calling also received plenty of skepticism after the Week 1 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
- Zach Wilson stats (2021): 56% completion, 2,334 yards, 9 TD, 11 INT, 69.7 QB rating
The Jets bet on Wilson’s upside in 2021, putting aside concerns about Wilson benefitting from facing weaker competition at BYU with a phenomenal offensive line. Thus far, those skeptical of the young quarterback have been proven right.
While it’s still far too early to declare whether or not Wilson can be a franchise quarterback, he hasn’t met expectations to this point in his NFL career. If there are still concerns about him at the end of the season, the Jets might need to consider going in another direction.