Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence is the clear-cut No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, but BYU’s Zach Wilson will almost certainly be the next man off the board. Wilson steadily improved with each collegiate season and had his most impressive campaign as a junior last season. Wilson threw for 3,692 yards and 33 touchdowns with just three picks and broke Steve Young's completion percentage record by connecting on 73.5% of his throws. he also ran for 254 yards and 10 scores. NFL teams are looking for a franchise player who can lead a team for a decade, and Wilson has a lot to offer.
Wilson is arguably the most exciting passer in the draft because of his ability to make off-schedule and unbalanced throws from almost any angle. Proper mechanics are important, but the ability to be stretch the field with accuracy while on the move isn’t easy. He isn’t the most explosive athlete but can elude pass rushers efficiently and extend plays with his legs when needed.
Some people are skeptical about Wilson’s ability to be consistent. His numbers were spectacular last year, but his stats during his first two seasons with BYU were underwhelming. The level of Wilson’s competition in college is also concerning for some. The young signal-caller usually had a clean pocket in 2020 and was significantly worse when pressured. If he can’t read situations quickly against much better players, he could struggle early in the NFL.
— The Draft Network’s Drae Harris
Mock Draft landing spots
Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports, Andy Vasquez of North Jersey, and Charlie Campbell of Walter Football all have Wilson going to the New York Jets with the No. 2 pick. This pick seems like a forgone conclusion now that New York has traded Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers ahead of draft day.
Fantasy impact: Rookie year
The only rookie quarterback that’s likely to be more productive than Wilson fro the get-go is Trevor Lawrence. Justin Fields and Trey Lance aren’t projected to be Week 1 starters. Wilson’s offensive weapons won’t compare to what Lawrence has in Jacksonville, but he’ll get a chance to learn on a rebuilding team from day 1. If Fields is promoted into a starting role at some point during the season, he could overtake Wilson because of a better team around him and his abilities as a scrambler.
Fantasy impact: Career
The Jets haven’t exactly been a safe place for quarterbacks in recent years. They gave up on Darnold after he was surrounded by subpar talent for three years, and the same could happen to Wilson. Wilson is built to flourish on a team with an established system and proven, veteran pieces on offense. He might not get off to a hot start in the NFL, but he could pick up steam with the right team dow the road if his time in New York doesn’t pan out.