With that wonderful taste of a win, our pair of experts are back to answer all of the hottest questions coming off of the Christmas holiday. You can follow both Paul ‘Boy Green’ Esden Jr and Michael Obermuller respectively on Twitter for more Jets talk.
We have some draft talk, Zach Wilson impressions, and should there be any regret?
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Zach Attack or Zach Vick?
1. Name the better highlight: Zach Wilson’s backyard football touchdown to Corey Davis versus the Tennessee Titans OR Wilson’s crazy 52-yard touchdown run versus the Jacksonville Jaguars?
Oh, man. That’s a tough one because Wilson faking out the Jaguars defender with the, “I’m going out of bounds — NO I’M NOT,” move was awesome to watch.
Having said that, I’ll probably stick with the Corey Davis backyard bomb. That was electric and it was a pass play, which is important when talking about a young quarterback. The run plays have been awesome the past few weeks and it’s really cool to see Wilson expanding on his NFL skill set but at the end of the day, he’ll have to make throws to be great and I’ll probably always value a crazy pass over a crazy QB run.
I would like to take a moment to highlight one more Wilson play from today though. On a fourth and two at the Jags 24-yard line, the rookie scrambled outside the pocket once again, taking the ball for a 17-yard gain. This run was a thing of beauty as the BYU product was dead to rights before pulling the Aaron Rodgers scramble-pump fake that caused the would-be tackler to go airborne. That split-second moment of awareness impressed me.
Both plays are awesome and it is a real first-world problem that we get to pick between the two. With that being said I’ll go on the other side of this debate.
Zach Vick (his new nickname bestowed on him by Mekhi Becton) was electric. It was the longest run by a Jets quarterback EVER and his 91 rushing yards were also the MOST by a quarterback in franchise history. How the heck isn’t that No. 1?
We all know he is capable of the spectacular throw. Those kinds of passes are all over his college tape and his film from the BYU pro day. What isn’t (or hasn’t been) shown on tape is the wheels from Wilson.
Those were on full display and showed his improvisational skills and a new facet of his game. I don’t need those kinds of special runs every week, but if no one is open take the green grass in front of you. Those are bonus yards that are yours for the taking and that shows the development.
2. Speaking of Zach Wilson, who won the battle between the top 2 picks in your mind with him and Trevor Lawrence?
The winner was Wilson, 100%. I mean, he won the game with no household names for weapons and if not for some questionable interim head coaching, it wouldn’t have even been that close with two chip-shot field goals that Robert Saleh probably takes.
Both quarterbacks were short-handed but Wilson made the most of his options while Lawrence underthrew receivers early and took bad sacks throughout. The number one overall pick looked more like the Jets rookie in Week 2 or 3 if I’m being honest.
He made some better throws down the stretch and had a higher passing total but overall, Wilson ran the ball better and protected it in moments of peril. Lawrence’s sack-fumble was his worst play of the game and he’s lucky it didn’t come back to bite Jacksonville. Round one: Zach.
Zach Wilson won it by all accounts. The Jets won the game and Wilson showed way more chutzpah.
The former BYU product ran the offense efficiently and got the job done. After being a turnover monster to start his rookie campaign, Wilson has done a great job of reigning it in since.
The 22-year-old has gone 103 straight passes without throwing an interception.
I know this specific question is about this game in particular, but it is impossible not to look at the recent batch of games for Lawrence. In his last eight games, he only has one touchdown, unbelievable ineptitude.
I have no doubt that both players are going to be in this league for a long time, but Wilson got the better of Lawrence. T-Law was forced to pass more with his team being down, which resulted in better passing numbers for this contest.
Time to Take a Sneak Peek Into the Future
3. Outside of Wilson, which young player are you most excited about their future on this team?
Michael Carter (the running back). I’ve been all-in on MC1 since mini-camp and the North Carolina product hasn’t let me down. I described him as a silky rusher today because he always seems to slip through the holes in the defense with an effortlessly smooth sort of glide to his play.
His vision is tremendous, his hands are solid, and he’s the best pass-blocker in this RB core. Basically, Carter is the full package and I expect him to lead this unit for years to come.
Although his numbers built slowly against the Jaguars, he finally broke through late with the 38-yard gainer. That fourth-quarter spike gave him 118 yards on the day with 7.4 per carry — a monster outing for the rookie.
By the way, Michael, that 100+ yard rushing effort was the first of MC1’s career and the first 100+ rushing performance for a Jets player since 2020. Super excited for him!
I said this for another question, but the fact that we have multiple choices shows the first-world problem the Jets are experiencing after a stellar 2021 NFL draft. I’ll go with Elijah Moore who has been nothing short of spectacular.
It took him a while to find his footing, part of that can be attributed to some injuries in the preseason, but once he started to figure out the NFL, all hell broke loose.
He can be a true No. 1 wide receiver, despite his size, and he is a playmaker. If you get the ball in his hands he can take it to the house.
The Jets are very pleased with his progress so far and there is hope in the building that the talented Ole Miss product will be ready to go for the final two games of the regular season.
4. Mock Draft Monday again: highlight two prospects that you’d like to see the Jets consider in the top-10 of the 2022 NFL draft?
Well, with all this winning (sarcasm) the Jets might actually slip outside the top-five picks. That means it’s really unlikely they select Aidan Hutchinson, Kayvon Thibodeaux, or Evan Neal. I’m starting to be convinced that Joe Douglas should go wide receiver with one of the two picks, but I also love the idea of a can’t-miss linebacker that can take over for C.J. Mosley. Based on that, I’ll say Garrett Wilson and Devin Lloyd (who I’ve talked about in the past).
To me, the Ohio State WR (Wilson) might be the best one in the draft. Pure speed like Jameson Williams is impossible to teach but give me a route-runner and a true pass-catcher any day. That’s Wilson, who would be a dream for play-caller Mike LaFleur to work in beside Corey Davis and Elijah Moore.
As for Lloyd, the Utah product could be the Fred Warner-type linebacker that’s clearly missing from this Saleh defense. I’ll be honest, one of our fans actually put me on to Lloyd but I’ve loved what I’ve seen ever since. At the very least, he goes a long way in solving the run defense problem in 2022.
I LOVE the draft, it is my favorite time of the year! There are so many different ways the Jets can go, but if I had to pick a strategy it would be a wide receiver and an offensive lineman.
Gang Green is set to have two picks inside the top-10 and that is a great opportunity to add some more blue-chip talent to the roster.
I’ll start off at wide receiver, give me Drake London out of USC. The 6-foot-5, 210-pound weapon has shown an ability to play inside or outside. The vertical presence is something that I think would be a great fit in this offense.
While jumping over to the offensive line, the player that would make a lot of sense is Evan Neal out of Alabama. The Jets have Becton and George Fant, plus they have to make a decision on Morgan Moses.
Neal would provide the ultimate insurance policy and long-term solution at right tackle. Although he has the versatility to play literally anywhere in the trenches. He is the textbook definition of a plug-and-play stud.
5. Should Jets fans feel any regret/sadness that their win over the Jaguars likely took them out of the running for a top-2 pick in the 2022 NFL draft?
No, I said last week that you want to see Wilson win this game. It’s not just about pride, it’s about confidence.
It’s been a rocky rookie season for the number two overall pick and with the weight of the world on his shoulders, he needed this victory. You can just see him get lighter with every moment of success and it also helps from a media perspective.
If Wilson loses to Lawrence and the Jags and better yet — if New York gets the number one overall pick. All week and all offseason long, you’ll hear the NFL media question the Jets for drafting Wilson and that type of coverage could have shattered the youngster after a challenging start. You’ll also see more fans doubt him long-term.
Trust me, a loss did more harm than good in this scenario.
These kinds of takes are disgusting:
The Jets are a professional football team with a young core (head coach, quarterback, and one of the youngest rosters in the league). Describing what the Jets did against the Jacksonville Jaguars as “sickening” is just silly.
The “three would be interceptions” weren’t even Wilson’s faults all coming off some sort of deflection or pass that should’ve been caught.
I get it, there are a lot of fans who preferred the draft position, but why not enjoy the win? They don’t come often and there is nothing you can do to control it, so might as well embrace the result.
Also speaking of the draft, you never know what is going to happen. While now it appears the Jets won’t be in the conversation for one of the top two EDGE rushers, we thought the same thing with Sam Darnold back in 2018. No one thought he’d slip to No. 3 yet, there he was.
We have a long time before we reach the 2022 NFL draft, lets enjoy the process instead of overreacting on social media.
One last nugget here on why this win means way more than some fans are saying:
After the game, Wilson said what ended up being the game-winning touchdown to Conor McDermott was “probably the highlight of his life.”
While meaningless to some, these moments will help their young quarterback in a million ways as he continues his development and progression.