ESPN Commentator Lauds Jets QB Zach Wilson as ‘Must-See TV’

Zach Wilson

Getty New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson completes an off-balance throw at BYU on October 16, 2020.

If you’re not from Utah and you didn’t watch a ton of BYU football last year, it’s easy to dismiss the ridiculous season that quarterback Zach Wilson had in 2020.

ESPN personality Kendrick Perkins hasn’t forgotten and he was quick to remind everyone just how dynamic of a playmaker Wilson can be during a recent appearance on First Take.

As part of an expert panel that included former football players Ryan Clark and Bart Scott, host Molly Qerim Rose asked Perkins (a former NBA center turned commentator) which rookie quarterback he’s most excited to watch in 2021.

The answer was obvious to Perkins, and he’ll be playing for the New York Jets in 2021.

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Perkins Sounds off on Wilson

Known for his bold takes on all things sports, Perkins has made a name for himself since his NBA playing career. Now he’s doing his best to make a name for the BYU product.

Perkins doesn’t mind standing alone, so it should come as no surprise that the commentator was all-in on the high-upside prospect that many see as a risky second overall pick. “I’m going with my guy, the guy I stayed up late to watch in college at BYU,” the ex-athlete proclaimed.

Wilson is one of the more polarizing prospects out of this draft class because of where he played college football and the massive jump he took statistically during his junior campaign. The Cougars signal-caller put up absurd numbers last season, throwing for 3,692 yards and 33 touchdowns (plus 10 rushing scores) compared to just 3 interceptions.

That performance turned into a 196.4 passer rating according to Sports Reference. For the sake of comparison, Trevor Lawrence had a 169.2 rating in 2020, which was his highest passer rating during his Clemson career.

Perkins highlighted a lot of these statistics in his praise, calling Wilson’s 73.5 completion percentage “on money.”

He finished by saying: “When it comes down to him being able to scramble out the pocket and make passes downfield — he has the deep ball, he can scramble for yards, he’s fast as hell — Zach Wilson is must-see TV, this is the player to watch.”

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Exhilarating Dual-Threat Skillset

Wilson’s dual-threat ability is often understated but it was right up there with Lawrence in 2020. The Utah native actually ran for more total yards with 254, as well as average yards per game with 21.17 compared to the number one overall pick’s 20.3 average.

During Flight 2021: An Offseason with the New York Jets, the franchise gave fans an in-depth behind-the-scenes look at the Jets’ scouting process. Andrew Dollack, the scout assigned to BYU, talked about Wilson’s “high level of confidence” and “playmaker mentality.”

The competitive gamer won’t hesitate to attempt off-balance throws with rare arm-angle talent and strength, but he also won’t hesitate if he needs to “create with his feet”. In this area specifically, Dollack was excited by Wilson’s “sneaky athleticism and foot speed when escaping a broken pocket.”

Director of football analytics Brian Shields also noted the rookie’s “A” grades in many areas, including his ability to throw on the run and throw under pressure. He also received “A” marks for his play-action and “tight-window” passing.

There’s a reason that Wilson has been compared to Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers, and it’s a combination of his intelligence, arm accuracy regardless of throwing angle or foot placement, and of course the dual-threat potential.

It’s unclear just how successful the Jets quarterback will be, but Perkins is 100% right about one thing, Wilson will be fun to watch.

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