The hype train for New York Jets rookie quarterback Zach Wilson has reached another level.
Despite the fact that the season doesn’t start for another three and a half months, one analyst’s comments should send fans into a tizzy.
Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report recently ranked Wilson as the fourth most likely candidate to win the NFL’s Rookie of the Year award:
“Wilson has the arm strength to stretch the field, throws with anticipation, and makes highlight-reel plays. In 2020, he averaged 14.9 yards per completion with a 73.5 percent accuracy rate. His precision and big-play ability will give him a good shot at posting big numbers.”
Only three other players were higher on the list:
- Ja’Marr Chase, wide receiver, Cincinnati Bengals
- Najee Harris, running back, Pittsburgh Steelers
- Trevor Lawrence, quarterback, Jacksonville
The Former BYU Passer Would Make Jets History
The NFL has been handing out its offensive rookie of the year trophy annually since 1957. The Jets have never had a player that has taken home that honor in the 64-year history of the award.
Vegas Insider agrees with Bleacher Report’s assessment pegging Wilson as a 7-to-1 favorite to take home the hardware (fourth-best among NFL players).
Are You Saying There’s a Chance?
It’s a fun topic just to be in the conversation, but let’s get real, does Wilson have a real chance at taking home this award?
To put it bluntly, absolutely.
First off his biggest competition is Lawrence down in Jacksonville and Harris with the Steelers.
A running back has taken home the OROY award in three out of the last six years. The former Alabama star is going to get the rock early and often for Steel City. He’ll have a great chance to put up video game numbers.
While obviously, Lawrence was the No. 1 pick and is the promised prince. He’s got some nice weapons around him and the division will be an interesting battle in 2021.
Bleacher Report listed Chase a spot higher than Wilson, but he’s unlikely to win the award. A receiver hasn’t won the award in over six years. To add even more context, since 2004 only two wideouts have been honored.
Making the Case for Zach Attack
Unlike most Jets quarterbacks over the last decade, Wilson will have a bevy of toys to play with on offense.
At wide receiver, the Jets are overflowing with talented playmakers like Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, Denzel Mims, and don’t forget about Jamison Crowder.
The offensive line has been fortified by the addition of first-rounder Alijah Vera-Tucker to pair along with Mekhi Becton.
Beyond the weapons and protection, the biggest reason why Wilson has a chance to make history is the coaching.
The ultimate wildcard in all of this is new offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur.
He’s been mentored by some of the smartest minds in the game like Kyle Shanahan and Mike McDaniel. Although trying to predict what his offense will look like is anyone’s guess.
Studying the San Francisco 49ers offensive principles is a great place to start, although LaFleur will likely look to put his own spin on things in New York.
It’s a proven system that has cranked out production from the quarterback position whether that was Matt Ryan highlighted by his MVP season in 2016.
Or even a more modest but still impressive campaign by Jimmy Garoppolo in 2019 that featured a 70 percent completion rate, 3,978 yards, and a 27-to-13 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
To walk away with the award, Wilson is going to need to step up to the plate, get put in positions to succeed by the coaching staff, and a dash of luck.
With his ability, the talent around him, and this proven offensive system he’s going to have a real chance to make history in 2021.