LOCALS IN THE NFL

New York Jets Select BYU QB Zach Wilson With No. 2 Overall Pick In 2021 NFL Draft

Apr 29, 2021, 6:34 PM | Updated: 6:54 pm
Zach Wilson - New York Jets - NFL Draft...
Zach Wilson stands onstage with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being drafted second by the New York Jets during round one of the 2021 NFL Draft at the Great Lakes Science Center on April 29, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The New York Jets selected former Corner Canyon High and BYU quarterback Zach Wilson with the No. 2 overall pick during the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

The first round of the NFL Draft took place in Cleveland, Ohio on Thursday, April 29.

By becoming a top two selection, Wilson became the highest NFL Draft pick in BYU football history.

Former Cougar greats Jim McMahon and Ezekiel Ansah were previously tied for the program’s top NFL Draft picks. Both players were drafted with No. 5 overall picks in their respective NFL Draft classes.

Wilson was the second quarterback taken in the 2021 first round after Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence was taken with the top pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars.

 

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Zach Wilson on the New York Jets

New York’s Joe Douglas (general manager), Robert Saleh (head coach), and Mike LaFleur (offensive coordinator) traveled to Provo to see Wilson throw during BYU’s Pro Day in late March.

After the Pro Day, Wilson was asked about his interactions with the Jets throughout the draft process.

“Great staff, love those guys. Joe Douglas is a great guy and it was good to see him out here. They got a good thing going,” Wilson said.

Zach Wilson at BYU

After growing up a fan of BYU’s upstate rivals and committing to play for nearby foe Boise State, Wilson decided to attend BYU following his time at Corner Canyon High School in Draper, Utah.

Wilson began his true freshman season as the Cougars’ backup quarterback. Midway through the 2018 season, he took over as the team’s starter and led BYU to a bowl game victory to finish on the year. In the postseason win, Wilson went a perfect 18/18 passing for 317 yards and four touchdowns.

Following his first season in Provo, Wilson underwent surgery to repair the labrum in his throwing shoulder. The quarterback said the injury dated back to his time in high school.

The surgery caused Wilson to miss BYU’s spring practices and limited him during fall camp in 2019.

Wilson’s sophomore campaign had its ups as well as its downs. He helped the Cougars to big wins over Tennessee and USC before suffering a thumb injury midway through the schedule. Wilson’s injury required surgery and it sidelined him for a month. After returning to the field, he helped BYU finish the season with a 2-2 record in its final four games, including a bowl game loss.

The rollercoaster season forced BYU’s coaching staff to open up a quarterback competition between Wilson, Jared Hall, and Baylor Romney. Both Hall and Romney helped the Cougars to victories during Wilson’s absence following the thumb injury.

Ultimately, Wilson won the starting quarterback job heading into the 2020 season. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, BYU was forced to play an adjusted schedule that looked much different than its original slate of games, which featured multiple games against Power Five programs.

Despite the pandemic and playing a schedule that was throw together over the course of the season, Wilson performed spectacularly as a junior and led BYU to an 11-1 record, including a bowl victory over UCF.

Wilson finished the season passing for 3,692 yards, 33 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions with a 73.5 percent completion rate. The quarterback also had 70 carries for 254 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior.

In January, Wilson announced that he would forgo his remaining years of collegiate eligibility and enter the NFL Draft.

Wilson ended his BYU career passing for 7,652 yards, 56 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions with a 67.6 percent completion rate. He also ran the ball for 642 yards and 15 touchdowns.

The 2021 NFL Draft

The 2021 NFL Draft takes place from April 29-May 1. Click here to learn more about how to watch, stream, or listen to coverage of the NFL Draft.

Kyle Ireland is a Locals in the NFL Insider for KSLSports.com and host of the Yards After College Podcast. Follow him on Twitter (@kyleireland) and Instagram (@kyleirelandksl).

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