27 Nov 2020

Home of the NFL Offseason

Cult Hero Chronicles: Zach Wilson

College football has produced some stars over the years, some have been NFL stars, some have been major busts, and some have become cult like heros. This is a breakdown of cult hero Zach Wilson, the 6’3″ 210lb, Junior Quarterback for Brigham Young University has taken the nation by storm this season. In 2018 he was a true freshman who threw for 1,578yds, 12 TD’s, and only 3 INT’s. Many scouts predicted Wilson to be the next big thing in 2019. In 2019 the sophomore regressed due to a series of different injuries. In October of 2019 Wilson had surgery on his hand, which resulted in missed time, and he also battled a shoulder injury most of the season. During this injury plagued season Wilson threw for 2,382 yards, 11TD’s, but 9 INT’s. Based on his first wo seasons, Wilson seemed to be a Jekyll and Hyde type of player.

Going into the 2020 season, no one really knew which Zach Wilson was going to show up. But this season Wilson has been a monster and has recently become a Top 5 QB in the 2021 Draft Class in many people’s eyes. At the time of writing Wilson has played in 6 games, and has thrown for 1,928 yards, 16 TD’s, and only 1 INT. While rushing for another 115 yards and 6 more TD’s. Is Wilson just another fun collegiate star, or does he have the potential to be a franchise QB in the NFL? Let’s figure it out!

Wilson is a prospect that fits today’s NFL perfectly. He is an athletically gifted passer who can take over games. Wilson has a game breaking style that seems to come out of a video game. As I said earlier, Wilson is just a fun player. He has the arm strength to make any throw on the field.

As we see on this throw, Wilson has the IT factor that you want out of the QB position. In this play he demonstrates great pocket awareness stepping up to the right while avoiding the pressure while throwing the perfect pass to his receiver. This season we have seen Wilson make this kind of throw again and again and again.

Just wanted to show off the arm yet again.

Wilson also is a major dual threat with his legs. He has 150 rushing yards combined with his 7 TD’s on the ground to help provide a different addition to a player that is already difficult to scheme against. In the game against Louisiana Tech we saw Wilson throw for 325yds and 2 TD’s while rushing for another 43yds and 3 TD’s.

That type of arm combined with his dual threat ability, makes Wilson an incredibly tempting draft prospect for teams that miss out on Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields.

Wilson is far from a perfect prospect however. In this draft process we have seen Wilson ranked as the number 2 QB in this class, and we have also seen him miss out on the top 5. Why is that? We have seen a QB that can make any throw and dominate a game but isn’t ranked in some people’s top 5? As great as all of Wilson’s tools are he does have some causes for concern. Playing at BYU we see Wilson go against a pretty weak schedule all the way around. At the time of writing, his toughest game was against Houston. Who isn’t bad, but they aren’t a true test for a QB with his skillset.

Another knock that some have is Wilson’s raw passing mechanics. Wilson has the natural arm to make any throw, but when watching him play, he seems to have very inconsistent passing mechanics. His release point on his passes is consistent, he doesn’t set his feet very often, and he switches between a side arm motion and a standard over the shoulder motion. These issues aren’t major to some scouts and draft analysts.

My personal views on Zach Wilson are that he might be one of the most fun players in this upcoming draft class. Right now my current grade on him puts Wilson as a fringe Day 1 guy. I think due to positional value though, we could see Wilson go in the middle of Day 1 to a team that misses out on a top QB. Someone like Pittsburgh, Chicago, New England, or New Orleans.

I think that Wilson will succeed in the NFL, he may struggle at first due to the level of competition difference. However, the natural arm talent, the swagger, the dual threat ability, and the knowledge to play the position makes Zach Wilson a very good option for QB needy teams.

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