Hello and happy April Fool’s Day to you all, otherwise known as April 1. I am back writing again, whether this arrived in your email inbox as part of my “Yawk Talk” newsletter or you’re reading this on 1280thezone.com. These pieces will vary in length, but today I am advocating for Zach Wilson to embrace playing for the New York Jets.
Yes, you read that right.
Stop laughing. I’m serious.
I am already anticipating the response to such a scorching hot take, including some of you advocating for my employer to require me to undergo a drug test. Please allow me to me explain why I think playing in the Meadowlands should be the play for Wilson.
Yes, I know the history of success with the Jets franchise is fleeting at best. When your best known player of all-time is, and remains the indomitable Joe Namath, who retired in 1977, you haven’t had an easy time, especially with another franchise (the Giants) overshadowing you. Despite all of it’s shortcomings, I believe Zach Wilson could be the answer that the Jets need to get back to winning football games.
Many of you will recall that Zach Wilson signed with BYU in the 2018 recruiting class as the Cougars’ football program was coming off an abysmal 4-9 campaign, their worst season in over 40 years. Head coach Kalani Sitake realized his program needed a spark and part of his plan to inject life into his floundering team was to bring in a lightly-recruited quarterback from Corner Canyon High School in Wilson.
Sitake and new BYU offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes, along with new passing game coordinator Aaron Roderick, put the full-court press on Wilson and landed him after a brief, but intense. courtship. Who knew that three years later that three-star prospect from Draper, Utah would become a projected top-five NFL Draft prospect?
BYU & Sitake gambled that Wilson could restore the Cougars to their former glory as a program that enjoyed elite quarterback play, and Wilson, in turn, bet on himself by taking the reigns of a program that has produced the likes of Ty Detmer, Jim McMahon and Steve Young, among others. It worked out wonderfully for both sides in Provo, so why can’t it happen in the Big Apple?
New York has a new head coach in Robert Saleh and offensive coordinator in Mike LaFleur. Both were formerly assistants for the San Francisco 49ers, a franchise that has been heavily-mentioned as a system that a quarterback like Wilson would thrive in. Saleh and LaFleur should embrace what they learned working for Kyle Shanahan and let Wilson run the offense he may have run in Santa Clara if he were to wear red-and-gold.
Wilson’s self-confidence borders on that of cockiness, but it’s that self-belief in his abilities that allowed him to make highlight reel play after another during the 2020 season as the Cougars soared to an 11-1 record and a No.11 final ranking. He trusts his abilities and his can-do attitude could be the answer that the Jets are looking for.
Yes, the Jets are in need of a talent infusion to surround Wilson with talent should they pick him, but an influx of talent could come alongside Wilson in this year’s draft as the Jets own nine total selections, including five in the first 86 picks of the draft (first-third rounds). They already have a solid offensive line anchored by a franchise-caliber left tackle in Mekhi Becton and free-agent additions in wide receiver Corey Davie and running back Tevin Coleman, among others.
All of this could mean that Wilson is the face of a young, but talented core of Jets led by an ambitious young head coach and an emerging offensive coordinator into the future. Sure, general manager Joe Douglas would have to nail his picks for this scenario to come true, but the possibility exists.
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