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Unrivaled: New York ‘Is The Worst Place Zach Wilson Could Go’

Zach Wilson #1 of the BYU Cougars laughs during warm ups before their game against the Washington Huskies at LaVell Edwards Stadium on September 21, 2019 in Provo, Utah. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Being a top NFL Draft pick comes with its perks and also its downsides. The perk is that you are considered one of the best players from the current college crop and a nice paycheck, but the opposite end has that player going to an organization that was bad the year prior.

For some teams, it is a blip and they rebound after one really bad year that could have been caused by injuries to star players, but for other organizations, picking within the top-10 picks is a tradition that they want to break. That puts a lot of pressure on players who go to those perennial bad teams and it is even magnified with quarterbacks who are to be the savior of the franchise.

All signs point to Zach Wilson going to the New York Jets no matter how coy general manager Joe Douglas is attempting to play at the No. 2 pick. Sam Darnold was traded away to the Carolina Panthers opening the way for a quarterback and that is all but assured to be Wilson.

Playing In New York Is Going To Be Very Hard

The Jets have had just one winning season this decade and four coaches during that time and are now on their fifth with Robert Saleh taking over the helm. Being on a team that has had so many bad seasons makes it tough for the incoming class and especially tough when the new pick is a shiny new quarterback at the top of the drop.

Then there is the pressure of going to the biggest media market while on a team that has not been all that good. That is the point KSL Sports Alex Kirry makes about Wilson going to the Jets.

“It’s an uphill battle being an early draft pick because you’re going to a team typically that doesn’t have their ducks in a row, and it’s not because they’re having just a bad year but they’re having a bad couple decades,” Kirry said. “They’re having a bad 50 years in the case of, like the Browns or, you know, fill in the blank with some of these quarterbacks that have been taken recently. You just don’t know if Joe Burrow is going to have success in Cincinnati because Cincinnati doesn’t tend to have success.”

Organizational success is huge for early draft picks and the Jets don’t seem to have their act together. There might be a .500 season here or there and their last real success was when Mark Sanchez was their quarterback and Rex Ryan was in charge of the Jets with back-to-back AFC title game appearances. Beyond that, the Jets have usually been at best an occasional playoff team and at worst picking in the top three.

KSL Sports Scott Mitchell, who played 12 years in the NFL said Wilson going to New York is possibly the worst situation for him. Expectations are high and starting Day 1 seems inevitable, plus Wilson is a very confident player and may try to think he can make every throw and beat every defense in the NFL.

“It is the worst place Zach Wilson can go, it is. Here’s the thing that really kind of scares me,” Mitchell said. “It’s Zach Wilson’s confidence and maybe overconfidence and maybe it’s cockiness. So, he’s going to go to New York and go, ‘I’m the man and I’m going to make it happen here.’ That’s actually a really dangerous thing. Everyone has to have confidence in quarterbacks, have confidence. I get that but sometimes it can get in your way of seeing things for how they really are.”

There is no doubt Wilson has that drive and thinking he can be the best quarterback when he steps on the field, which is a good thing. Just look back at that infamous Monday Night Football game where Darnold was heard saying that he was “seeing ghosts” and his confidence seemed shot. Part of being confident on the field is knowing defenses, studying the playbook, having a connection with your team, and believing in yourself.

Going to New York will not be an easy thing to do for Wilson and success will be hard to come by. Perhaps it works and he is really good and the Jets build around him but recent history is against what the new staff in New York is trying to build a team in a really competitive AFC East.

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