Since the end of the college football season, the draft stock of BYU quarterback Zach Wilson has been on the rise. But will he be the second quarterback selected and grow into a star? Here’s a recap of his college career at BYU, the pros and cons to his game and our projection for his career in the NFL.
Wilson started to blossom at BYU as a true freshman in 2018, becoming the youngest quarterback to start a game in school history. After throwing 12 touchdowns and just three interceptions as a true freshman, Wilson evened out during his sophomore season in 2019. However, Wilson came alive in 2020, throwing for over 3,600 yards and 33 touchdowns in 12 games. He also ran for over 250 yards and 10 touchdowns while throwing just three interceptions, leading the Cougars to an 11-1 season.
As a junior, Wilson showed incredible anticipation and instincts as a passer, leading to a 73.5% completion percentage. There are few questions about his arm talent or his poise in the pocket. On top of his skills as a passer, Wilson showed dynamic athleticism and the ability to improvise. Even if he isn’t labeled a “dual-threat” quarterback in the NFL, he has more than enough athleticism to make defenses account for his legs.
Wilson’s sensational junior season needs to be taken with a grain of salt. For the most part, BYU played an aggressively mediocre schedule that lacked any power-conference opponents. In fairness, Boise State, Coastal Carolina, San Diego State, and UCF are all fine teams. But Wilson could experience a larger jump in competition than the other top quarterbacks in his draft class.
A plethora of mock drafts have Wilson going no. 2 overall to the Jets. Even if that doesn’t happen, he will likely go somewhere in the top-5. However, how well he will fit into some schemes and how ready he is to turn around a downtrodden franchise right away remains to be seen. That being said, his medium- and long-term prospects in the NFL appear bright.