The second overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft was just making a name for himself at BYU this time a year ago. What a difference a year makes. Long gone are the comparisons to Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes. Life comes at you fast as a rookie quarterback.
Is it too soon to label Wilson a bust?
Is Zach Wilson a Bust Already?
One of the major knocks on Wilson coming out of college surrounded his potentially frail frame. Occupying the pocket at 6’2 214lbs, Wilson trends towards the scrawnier side of the spectrum of NFL starting quarterbacks. This fear may now be coming to fruition.
Playing behind a porous offensive line, Wilson finds himself sitting on the bench because his body couldn’t take the punishment that NFL defenses doll out.
At BYU, Wilson rarely dealt with the challenges that come with being a professional quarterback. Studying his college tape, this was as clear as day. The athleticism shined because adversity was absent. His body held up because it never really was hit up. The New England Patriots pack a little more punch than the Boise St. Broncos.
Enter the Magnificent Mike White
Prior to Zach Efro… sorry, Zach Wilson getting injured, he was a bad quarterback. Not just generally bad, but bad by rookie standards as well. Out of all 2021 rookie quarterbacks to start a game, Wilson ranks dead last in passer rating. (Mac Jones 90.1, Trey Lance 88.4, Davis Mills 80.2, Trevor Lawrence 74.0, Justin Fields 65.7, Zach Wilson 63.5).
In nearly every one of Wilson’s starts, the Jets have been out of the game by the end of the first quarter. The offense has been entirely impotent under Wilson and rookie Head Coach Robert Saleh’s defensive efforts couldn’t carry this team past Wilson’s struggles.
As the Jets entered week 8, coming off of a bye week, they stared down a ferocious opponent. Facing the 5-2, and red-hot, Cincinnati Bengals, the Jets seemed doomed to begin their season 1-6.
The Jets surely couldn’t win this game with a journeyman quarterback selected in the 5th round in 2018. White had never started a game, and here he was being fed to one of the best teams in the AFC. But, what if the Jets did win this game? What if White took the same roster that Wilson has struggled so badly with and pulled off a miracle upset over a potential Super Bowl-caliber team. Well, we all know now, that is exactly what White and the Jets did this past Sunday. Not only did White conquer the 5-2 Bengals, but he also did so in front of 70,000 plus screaming Jets fans at MetLife Stadium who showered him with cheers.
White passed for 405 yards (the last time the Jets had a 400 yard passer, Vinny Testaverde in 2000) and 3 touchdowns. White clearly was the reason the Jets recorded this huge victory. has introduced a terrifying question. Maybe it was the Jets that were awful, maybe it was their future franchise quarterback.
Killing an Old Formula
All jokes aside, Wilson’s book isn’t finished yet. The first few chapters have been putrid, but more time is needed to close the door on that young quarterback. However, that does not mean the Jets should defer to Wilson (when healthy) if White continues to play well.
So much is placed upon draft status in the NFL. If anyone knows this, it should be Jets fans. Whether it be Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith, or Sam Darnold, these fans have endured countless seasons wasted away on quarterbacks solely based on when they were taken in the draft process.
Maybe, just maybe, the player who is playing better should play until that is no longer the case. Maybe a suffering fanbase deserves the joy of watching competitive football once a week. Maybe Zach Wilson just isn’t Mike White.
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