When looking at the New York Jets, it seems to be a quarterback graveyard as they haven’t had a career guy under center for decades. However, BYU product and the 2021 NFL Draft‘s 3rd overall pick Zach Wilson is the answer to the Jets’ prayers. Even though the storylines are not heading his way as much as other rookie quarterbacks here, Wilson is currently listed on the Fanduel Sportsbook with the fourth-best odds at +750 for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
People will say that Wilson doesn’t have the offense to be successful or the talent to win games. However, that seems to be overblown.
Wilson definitely has one of the best arm talents in the NFL as he seems to be a younger Aaron Rodgers with his level of just flicking his wrist and the ball going 40+ yards downfield while scrambling in the pocket. The talent is definitely there to tap into but let’s look at the offensive line first.
This Jets offensive line is far from perfect, but general manager Joe Douglas has done exactly what he needed to here, and that was to protect his right-handed quarterback’s blindside. He has Mekhi Becton and Alijah Vera-Tucker protecting that, and Wilson’s ability to move around in the pocket and not be a strict pocket quarterback is going to help tremendously. The Jets offensive line is not great, but it is an average to an above-average line that can give him enough time to find his receivers.
Looking at who will be catching the football is also important as they need to get open if he wants to be successful. New York has the wide receiver depth of Corey Davis, Jamison Crowder, Keelan Cole, Denzel Mims, Braxton Berrios, and rookie Elijah Moore. He also has an offensive coordinator in Mike LaFleur who has worked with quarterbacks like Jimmy Garoppolo and got him to a Super Bowl appearance. The Jets have the offense to do so, and their defense isn’t world-beaters, so at worst, Wilson will be producing empty-calorie yardage to inflate his totals.
The three players ahead of Zach Wilson for Offensive Rookie of the Year are also quarterbacks in Jacksonville’s Trevor Lawrence, Chicago’s Justin Fields, and San Francisco’s Trey Lance. You can cut holes through each one of those players as well. Lawrence has turnover issues as he threw five of his last six collegiate games while both Fields and Lance could be on the bench to start the season, and that really puts them behind the eight ball.
The Jets have the running backs in place and know how to manage a rookie quarterback in this system. Wilson has looked very well against the Green Bay Packers in the second preseason game as he went 9-of-11 for 128 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The biggest flaw going in would have been Adam Gase, but he’s gone.
The Jets might not be competing for a Super Bowl this season, but the improvement from the Jets will give him votes and make Zach Wilson the next NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.