NFL Draft Hype For Zach Wilson is Rising: What Would It Mean To Be Drafted No. 2?

Jan 27, 2021, 4:24 PM | Updated: 4:57 pm
Zach Wilson - BYU...
Former BYU quarterback Zach Wilson. (Courtesy of BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)
(Courtesy of BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Buzz continues to build around BYU quarterback Zach Wilson ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft. A true junior in 2020, Wilson put up electric numbers to lead the Cougars to an 11-1 record and a Top-15 ranking. Wilson threw for 3692 yards, completed 74% of his passes and accounted for 43 total touchdowns.

Zach Wilson went from competing for BYU’s starting quarterback job in August to be one of college football’s best players. That leap led him to declare early for the NFL Draft. The hype will never be higher for the Draper, UT product and now that hype has Wilson’s draft stock rising. Recently, the NFL’s Daniel Jeremiah projected Wilson to be selected #2 overall to the New York Jets in his most recent mock draft.

Jeremiah is not alone in projecting the BYU signal-caller to the Jets. Many other draft analysts also project Zach Wilson to be the 2nd overall selection. Being selected 2nd overall would make Wilson the highest-selected BYU player ever. He would also join a list of few quarterbacks taken with the 2nd pick in the NFL Draft. Here are the last five quarterbacks to be drafted 2nd overall, as heard on the “Top 5” segment on Cougar Sports Saturday (KSL Newsradio, Noon-3pm).

Zach Wilson, No. 2 in NFL Draft? The last Five QBs to go second overall.

2017 – Mitchell Trubisky to Chicago

The Bears traded up from 3rd to 2nd in the draft to take the junior quarterback from North Carolina. Trubisky had just one year as a full-time starter in Chapel Hill and put up 35 total touchdowns and over 4000 total yards. He was the first quarterback selected in the 2017 NFL Draft. In the trade package with San Francisco to move up to #2, the Bears gave up some picks, including a 2018 3rd round pick. That 3rd round pick became former BYU linebacker and future all-pro Fred Warner.

2016 – Carson Wentz to Philadelphia

Wentz was the 2nd quarterback drafted in 2016 when the Eagles moved up from No. 8 to No. 2 to draft the big, gunslinging Bison. The North Dakota State product had the size and big arm to attract NFL teams. Wentz spent four years in Fargo, where the Bisons won the FCS Championship all four years. The Cleveland Browns, who traded back with the Eagles, passed up the opportunity to draft a quarterback but would do so two years later with the 1st overall selection in Baker Mayfield.

2015: Marcus Mariota to Tennessee

Marcus Mariota came to Oregon from Hawai’i in 2012 and immediately won the starting job as a freshman. In three years as the starting quarterback, Mariota had a 36-5 record and one appearance in the College Football Championship game: a loss to Ohio State. Mariota’s Heisman-winning season in 2014 is spectacular. The junior threw for 4454 yards, rushed for 770 yards, and accounted for 57 total touchdowns. Mariota was the 2nd quarterback taken in the 2015 NFL draft behind Florida State’s Jameis Winston.

2012: Robert Griffin III to Washington

Washington traded up from #6 to #2, giving up a heavy load of draft picks, to take the redshirt-junior coming off a Heisman trophy in 2011. Griffin scored 47 touchdowns for the Bears, threw for over 4000 yards and completed 72% of his passes. RG3 was the electric college quarterback who Washington hoped would turn the fortunes of their franchise. Griffin was the 2nd quarterback selected in the draft behind Stanford’s Andrew Luck.

1999: Donovan McNabb to Philadelphia

McNabb was a four-year starter at Syracuse, one of five quarterbacks selected in the first twelve picks of the 1999 NFL Draft. McNabb was a three-time Big East Offensive Player of the Year with the Orange and led a dynamic offense with his passing and rushing abilities. He had the most successful NFL career of these five quarterbacks listed, spending 11 years with the Eagles and making one Super Bowl appearance with head coach Andy Reid in 2005.

Success in the NFL isn’t wholly dependent on where you were drafted. The GOAT, Tom Brady, was famously drafted 199th in the 2000 NFL Draft. However when a franchise selects a young quarterback this high in the draft, the expectations and pressure begin immediately. And justifiably so; as we’ve seen teams will mortgage their future for a chance at a game-changing quarterback.

For Zach Wilson, he has months before he will find out where he will be taking snaps in the NFL. The pressure of being an NFL quarterback is plenty enough; if he were to be the 2nd pick in the NFL Draft that pressure would only rise higher. Wilson handled the pressure of quarterbacking at BYU. He was the youngest starting quarterback in BYU history and only built upon that with further success and putting it together his junior season. Where he will land, we don’t yet kn0w. But Wilson could be positioned to be the 2nd overall selection in the NFL Draft in April.

Listen to the full segment about Zach Wilson and the last five quarterbacks to be drafted 2nd overall in the NFL Draft.

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NFL Draft Hype For Zach Wilson is Rising: What Would It Mean To Be Drafted No. 2?