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Player Profile: Zach Wilson

Zach Wilson leaves BYU after his junior season and is nearly a lock to be a top-10 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft

Height: 6’3”
Weight: 210 lbs
School: BYU

Why you’re drafting him…

The gunslinger’s mentality, the rocket arm, and the ability to deliver the ball from multiple throwing angles has worked well so far in the NFL for Patrick Mahomes; and those are the same qualities Wilson possesses that have coaches and front office members drooling over the chance to work with him. Wilson may pack on a few extra pounds over his first couple of seasons in the league, which will essentially bulk him up to the size of a prototypical NFL quarterback. From that point on, Wilson will have the size, arm strength, and moxie, to go along with his fearless ability as a runner, which projects well in his quest to become one of the game’s most talented players at the position of quarterback. He throws a great deep ball, he scans the field fairly well, and more often than not he’s putting the ball in the perfect place for the receiver to catch and make a play with it. Wilson enters the 2021 NFL Draft after a junior season in which he completed nearly 74% of his passes, over 3,600 passing yards and 33 touchdowns compared to just three interceptions. On top of everything he accomplished as a passer, he also added 254 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground. Wilson may have saved his best collegiate performance for his finale as he led the Cougars to a 49-23 dismantling of the UCF Knights, throwing for 425 yards and totaling five touchdowns (two rushing)

Needs to improve…

While Wilson looked unstoppable for the majority of the 2020 college football season, he wasn’t quite as dynamic his first two seasons at BYU as he totaled 23 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He showed flashes of greatness his freshman and sophomore seasons, but wasn’t able to fully put it together until his junior year. Due to this, we really only have one complete season (12 games) of consistent tape that screams top-10 NFL Draft pick. Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind the level of competition when scouting players from smaller schools and conferences. While BYU plays a handful of respectable teams most seasons, the Cougars faced just two teams ranked in the top 25 last season, and proceeded to lose against 18th-ranked Coastal Carolina while scoring just 17 points in the process. The lack of elite competition also showed up on tape for Wilson when you pay attention to how much time he had in the pocket. I’m not saying that his ability to read the field and move through his progressions is slow, but he’ll likely find that he needs to speed up the process at the next level. Lastly, to hammer home one final point about BYU’s weaker competition, the Cougars’ defense allowed more than 20 points just two times last season, meaning Wilson hardly ever faced a challenging end-of-game situation, or had to rally his team during crucial situations. The game won’t come this easy at the next level, likely meaning that Wilson will be pushed mentally in ways he hasn’t been in the past. How he responds to this pressure will go a long ways in determining his long-term success

Prediction for 2021 NFL Draft…

Wilson is projected by most to be the second or third quarterback off the board (behind Trevor Lawrence) in the 2021 NFL Draft. Whether he’s the second or third QB selected will likely come down to whether or not a team is willing to gamble on Wilson’s potential vs. Justin Fields’ long-term success against stiffer competition. I’m anticipating some shuffling of picks throughout the top 10, but I don’t imagine a scenario where Wilson drops out of it. With the Jaguars, Jets, Falcons and Panthers all in the mix for quarterback, plus the teams outside of the top-10 picks that have first-round QB aspirations, I’d say there’s a good chance we see 3-4 quarterbacks off the board in the top 10 with Wilson being one of them

Dynasty fantasy football spin…

The hot spot for Wilson will likely be between picks 2.05-2.10, depending on how quarterback-needy the teams are in that range. With Lawrence being the consensus QB1, likely being drafted towards the end of round one, the QB2 (much like the actual NFL Draft) will come down between Fields and Wilson. The determining factor may end up being landing spot, as joining a team such as the Jets offers itself a quicker route to starting than it does with a team such as the Falcons. Regardless, if you’re in a position where you can afford to select a quarterback in the middle of the second round, I’d argue for Wilson to be the pick as he offers more potential to eventually become elite than the remaining running backs, wide receivers or tight ends that’ll still be on the board at the time

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