Zach Wilson Draft Profile
Zach Wilson is the most prototypical “Shanahan style quarterback” that I have ever seen. He plays with swag, he’s not afraid to rip it, and he’s an athlete. The most impressive part of his game is his accuracy. He hits defenders in stride and has clean mechanics. Wilson is a great decision maker, in his final season at BYU he had a 43-3 touchdown to interception ratio. Not to mention, one of those interceptions came on a last second Hail Mary to end the first half. Improvement was key for Wilson. Wilson started seven games his freshman year, then started the next two seasons after that. Every year he got better and better which is a testament to his ability to be coached. The first thing that caught my eye while watching Wilson is his calmness. His footwork and drop back is smooth, it doesn’t seemed rushed. He plays relaxed which will benefit his team down the stretch. Think of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and how they play when they need to drive down the field in a two minute situation. The two traits that these quarterbacks all have in common is they are able to make the game slow down and they are all calm. Wilson has those same abilities.
Wilson struggles against heavy pressure and blitzes. The only team that was able to put a lot of duress on Wilson this season was Coastal Carolina. By the way it looked, BYU had an awesome offensive line and for the most part Wilson played his entire season with a clean pocket. The only team that Wilson lost to this season was Coastal Carolina and that’s because their defense brought some exotic blitzes to hurry Wilson. When under pressure, everything goes out the window for Wilson. His mechanics, accuracy, and footwork all fizzle up and he looks like a deer in headlights. Between his arm strength and mobility, he has the potential to improve, but in his final season at BYU that was his biggest issue. He wasn’t able to step into his throw with defenders in his face and it caused him to short arm passes. Wilson will need to improve his poise at the next level in order to be a successful quarterback.
One trait that will cause scouts to fall in love with Zach Wilson is the “wow” plays he is capable of making. When throwing from a clean pocket, Wilson can make circus type plays. His deep accuracy is phenomenal and he has a killer arm. Wilson can throw laser’s into tight windows and is outstanding when throwing in the middle of the field, between the numbers. At the next level, Wilson is going to fit perfectly in a west coast offense that uses heavy play action passing and a lot of bootlegs. At the top of the draft, the Jets will be running an offense very similar to what the 49ers run in San Francisco. The Jets’ new offensive coordinator, Mike LaFleur was the 49ers passing game coordinator last season and he will want to build around a quarterback that fits his offense. Wilson is the perfect quarterback and should be in contention for the second overall pick. Other teams that could potentially trade up to get Wilson are the Panthers, Vikings, and the 49ers. The reason why I have him graded as a mid first round quarterback is because of his inability to play against pressure, but I guarantee you he will go higher than I have him graded.
When watching Wilson play the comparison that became obvious was Baker Mayfield. Wilson is faster and more athletic than Mayfield, but the similarities are clear. The two best parts of Mayfield’s game are his competitiveness and his accuracy. When Mayfield was coming out of college, his decision making was one of the most highly touted parts of his game. Wilson does a really good job scanning the defense pre-snap and he rarely throws the ball into harms way. You can tell Wilson was coached well by the way he plays. Similar to Mayfield, you could see the love his teammates have for him while watching him play. Against Coastal Carolina, there was a play where Wilson threw a defender off him after a scramble. His teammates went buzurk on the sidelines. This is a trait that makes you think a team and a city will buy into Wilson. Wilson has franchise quarterback potential and should be able to play from day one.
Arm Strength + Deep Ball 9/10
Pocket poise 5.5/8
Improvisational Skills 3.5/5
Decision Making + IQ 10/10
Against the Blitz 4/8
Throw on the Run 3.5/5
Rating: 84 (Mid First Round Grade)
Pro Comparison: Baker Mayfield QB Browns
Team Fits: Jets, 49ers, Panthers, Vikings
Draft Grade: Top 25
Draft Projection: Top 3