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Why Zach Wilson will succeed from Day 1 for the New York Jets

Vincent Frank

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Rookie No. 2 pick Zach Wilson will be the New York Jets’ Week 1 starting quarterback when they take former starter Sam Darnold and the Carolina Panthers. That much is already known.

Flush with a new coaching staff, offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur included, the Jets hope that Wilson can make an impact out of the gate. After all, there’s a reason why they took the talented former BYU standout No. 2 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft.

If reports from the Jets’ offseason activities are any indication, Wilson should be more than up to the task.

“Wilson looks so comfortable in Mike LaFleur’s offense. He’s accurate, aggressive and regularly in control. There were hiccups, sure, but Wilson never resembled an out-of-place rookie,” Connor Hughes of The Athletic noted recently.

The comparison here was to Darnold’s first offseason as the Jets’ quarterback after they made him the No. 3 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

“There’s a strong difference between what he’s doing and what Darnold did their first offseasons,” Hughes wrote.

That’s seemingly some eye-opening stuff right there, and it could lead to a strong initial season in the NFL for Zach Wilson after he dominated lesser competition with BYU in 2020.

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New York Jets coaching staff has Zach Wilson set up to succeed

new york jets zach wilson
May 27, 2021; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) takes a snap during an OTA at Jets Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

The first thing that must be noted here is just how much of an upgrade new head coach Robert Saleh is in New Jersey from Adam Gase. Even without any head-coaching experience, there’s very little reason to believe that the Jets’ locker room is going to see the drama that unfolded during the latter part of Gase’s ugly tenure with New York. Saleh is seen as a player-friendly coach and someone that’s easy to get along with.

Secondly, LaFleur brings a quarterback-friendly system with him to New Jersey after working under 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan over the past several seasons. Once Wilson grasps the nuances of this scheme, he should excel.

New York Jets have a tremendous supporting cast for Zach Wilson

new jets wr corey davis will help zach wilson out big time
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Corey Davis (84) reacts as he runs in a touchdown during the first quarter against the Detroit Lions at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020 in Nashville, Tenn.Aab2718

Just recently, New York signed longtime Washington Football Team starting right tackle Morgan Moses. This solidifies an offensive line that was a major question mark under Gase over the past couple years.

Assuming left tackle Mekhi Becton takes that next step as a sophomore, this unit could actually be a major strength for the rebuilding Jets. Remember, they traded up for plug-and-play guard Alijah Vera-Tucker from USC in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. These two new additions will help Wilson out big time.

With that said, it’s all about the skill position group and how New York upgraded in the offseason. Signing stud wide receiver Corey Davis away from the Tennessee Titans after the youngster recorded nearly 1,000 receiving yards a season ago was a great initial step in rebuilding what was a talent-stricken wide receiver group.

Davis will team up with Denzel Mims, Jamison Crowder and fellow recent free-agent signing Keelan Cole to form a great foursome. If that weren’t enough, rookie second-round pick Elijah Moore could be a tremendous initial option for Zach Wilson out of the slot. Much like the quarterback, he’s been showing out during offseason activities. In fact, New York had him as its No. 16 overall prospect leading up to the draft.

All of this coupled with Wilson’s raw talent leads us to believe that he might be in line for a rookie season comparable to what we saw from Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert in 2020.

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