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Zach Wilson NFL Draft Hype: Too Much? Not Enough? No One Really Knows

Former BYU quarterback Zach Wilson. (Courtesy of BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)

PROVO, Utah —  There is always that one player that comes out of nowhere to be the darling of the NFL Draft and this year it is former BYU quarterback Zach Wilson.

Wilson gained attention during this past year with great play and the Heisman buzz pushed him up draft boards to be one of the top four signal-callers.

Wilson has nearly entrenched himself as the second quarterback in the draft behind Trevor Lawrence who, barring anything unforeseen, will be wearing a Jacksonville Jaguar uniform next fall. However, there are a few former NFL stars sticking their neck out and saying that just maybe Wilson could be better than Lawrence.

Regardless of what those people think, Wilson will not be the first quarterback taken. There is no way that Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke will pass on Lawrence, according to the guys of KSL Unrivaled. Lawrence has been anointed as a future No. 1 pick ever since he finished his freshman year at Clemson and not taking him would make him a laughing stock in the NFL.

However, the past week or so there has been a Super Bowl champion, a former NFL MVP, a former NFL coach, and anonymous scouts coming out and saying that perhaps Lawrence is not the top quarterback and that honor should go to Wilson. Any team or general manager who takes Wilson over Lawrence will likely be scrutinized.

There is Nothing On The Line For These Takes

Notice who is making bold statements saying Wilson is better than Lawrence. It is unnamed scouts and former players and coaches. None of those have any real say in what happens on draft day, even those scouts who don’t put their name on what they are feeding to reporters.

Sometimes they are legit and sometimes it is a bunch of garbage to give out bad or misleading information with the hope some teams will buy it and pass on a guy. There was a recent report about Wilson having a bad attitude from an unnamed NFC scout and his teammates and coaches jumped on that and said it was not true.

Then there was a recent tweet by an NFL reporter saying that Wilson not being a captain – something that is not true – should be a red flag. That hot take is beyond nitpicking about Wilson who has had zero issues with his teammates and coaches.

These people saying things publicly or behind the secrecy of being an unnamed source only provide some talking points and have no real value in saying where Wilson will be drafted. Honestly, how does Joe Theismann’s opinion really matter in the big picture about who is the better quarterback? He is not in a draft room guiding teams about what to do.

That is the point KSL Sports’ Alex Kirry made from these opinions before going on how a general manager is in a spot where they have to take Lawrence as that is basically pre-determined.

“The problem is, is it’s an insane take. I would probably take Zach Wilson over Trevor Lawrence with your fake Monopoly money,” Kirry said. “You’re an insane person, though, because even if Zach Wilson is the better product, it’s already been decided that you’re an idiot.

“If you don’t take Trevor Lawrence you are an insane person, but here’s the other thing, if you don’t take Trevor Lawrence, you better deal that pick, which is going to be Trevor Lawrence to somebody for a lot of other picks, because Zach Wilson’s value is not that.”

Even if the Jaguars who hold the No. 1 pick feel Wilson is better than Lawrence, they will just move that top selection for a big haul and someone else will take Lawrence at the top of the draft. The market has basically been set for the value between Lawrence and Wilson. There will not be a single team that will trade up to take Wilson over Lawrence at No. 1.

Is This Too Much For Wilson?

This meteoric rise for Wilson is quite amazing. He has had multiple injuries that have knocked him out of live competition in 2019, missing parts of spring football, and then this offseason when healthy, Wilson was unable to regularly practice with his team due to COVID-19. Despite all of that he has shot up draft boards with a stellar season.

Getting this much hype in such a short time is great for Wilson but it also begs the question if he will ultimately be worth it. Former LSU quarterback Joe Burrow literally came out of nowhere to have arguably the best college football season ever in 2019 to win the Heisman trophy and win a national title before being taken No. 1 overall.

Wilson’s rise is not all that much different in that he was not considering entering the draft after the 2020 season and his NFL hype was not being talked about. There are players that shoot up the draft boards or get taken too early and then fall into obscurity. Clearly, it is very premature to say that for Wilson or that he could follow the path of Josh Rosen who was a former No. 10 overall pick in 2018 and is on his fourth team with 2020 being a practice squad member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

KSL Sports Scott Mitchell spent 12 years in the NFL as a quarterback and this rise of Wilson going from essentially a nobody to the top pick in the draft has him unsure about what to make of the situation. Wilson being able to play this year during COVID-19 really helped his situation to rise up the draft boards by playing well and being seen.

“It’s fascinating to me how you get all this hype and you have to kind of sift through the hype a little bit,” Mitchell said. “I think the coronavirus actually boasted well for Zach Wilson because that game against Navy never happens. Immediately, some of the most important people in college football, Kirk Herbstreit and all the boys, College Gameday and they said, ‘who is that?’

“There’s just been this buzz and what Zach Wilson has done nothing to even dissuade any of that buzz and he had such a solid, amazing season,” Mitchell added.” So I just and I just I don’t know if it’s hype or I don’t know if it’s solid, but it just it’s coming from somewhere. Will he be a really good pro, it’s yet to be determined?”

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