Zach Wilson was drafted second overall in the 2021 NFL draft by the New York Jets to be the team’s franchise quarterback. Wilson is gearing up for what looks to be an exciting second year. This offseason, Joe Douglas did just about everything that could have been done surrounding Wilson with talent. Wilson will turn 23 years old next month. Heading into year two with the Jets, Wilson looks primed for tremendous growth leading the team.
Brief review of 2021:
For the most part, Wilson’s rookie year played out as most probably expected. There were some hard, low moments. However, Wilson displayed his arm talent and athletic ability well enough last year. He had some special moments in the second of half games early in the season against the Carolina Panthers and Tennessee Titans. Down the stretch, he started to put it all together even with key players around him out. Most notably, the complete game Wilson played against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is what Jets fans are hoping for moving forward.
Wilson started 13 games in his first year. His final stat line consisted of 2,334 yards passing, nine touchdowns to 11 interceptions, a completion percentage of 55.6, and a 69.7 rating. On the ground, Wilson ran for 185 yards and four touchdowns. Arguably his most impressive stat was not throwing an interception in the final five games of the season. Hopefully, he builds on that success.
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Physically, Wilson stands in at 6-foot-2 and plans on playing this season closer to 220 pounds. He has incredible arm talent and athletic ability to boot.
Wilson possesses a ton of natural throwing skills. He can quickly release the football from different arm angles. Wilson has a ton of arm strength to drive the football down the field. On the move, he is capable of delivering accurate throws. Wilson has the accuracy to place the football wherever he wants on all three levels. Both in and out of the pocket, Wilson has the ability to make every throw on the field.
As a runner, Wilson proved himself as someone who can pick up yardage when it is there for him. He has enough speed. Wilson can move out of the pocket and make pursuing defenders miss with his athleticism. When the opportunity presents itself, Wilson is capable of extending and making plays without using his gifted arm.
2022 expectations and stat projection:
The main goal for Wilson in 2022 is to grow as a player and simply lead the Jets’ offense to consistent success. As stated, building on what he achieved in terms of limiting turnovers at the end of 2021 will be key. Also, having his mechanics all shore up play to play will enable him to be even more accurate, another point of emphasis in his development.
As Mike LaFleur has stated, Wilson just needs to play within the offense. The scheme is a quarterback-friendly one that happens to fit his skills. If so, Wilson will live up to the expectation of leading the Jets’ offense week in and week out.
For Wilson to maximize his production on the final stat sheet and, more significantly, in the win column for the Jets, starting 17 games is crucial. From there, a fair goal in terms of passing yards is about 3,500-3,750. Having a two-to-one touchdown to interception ratio of 25 to 12 would indicate strong progress. Completing roughly 60 to 62.5% of his passes would also be a nice step.
As a runner, Wilson should run for about 250 yards and anywhere from three to five touchdowns. If he finishes the year with about 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns in total, Wilson did his part to help the Jets win total.
Final preview thoughts:
Wilson had a strong, promising finish to his rookie year. He has all the arm and athletic talent, a year of experience, continuity in the scheme, and now, much improved surrounding talent. His work ethic is strong, as shown by his offseason work with his teammates. Wilson should look and ultimately play with much more confidence in year two. A clear step of progress will show up on the final stat line and most notably with more wins. Wilson has what it takes and will have a successful 2022 for the Jets.