Jets’ Zach Wilson ‘Set up’ to Mirror Ex-NFL MVP in Year 2, Says Analyst

Zach Wilson

Getty New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson eludes a tackler on December 19, 2021.

What a world we are living in after the 2022 NFL draft. The New York Jets added four potential rookie starters, they’ve already become a popular dark horse wildcard pick, and Zach Wilson is being compared to Patrick Mahomes II.

Yes, you heard me right. It may be hot-take season around the football community but ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky had a sizzler that topped all the other post-draft NYJ opinions on May 9.

During a segment of “NFL on ESPN,” the former quarterback told viewers that he believes Wilson is “set up for his second year very similar to what Patrick Mahomes was in his second year.” In case you forgot, that’s when the Kansas City Chiefs superstar threw for over 5,000 yards and was voted the league’s Most Valuable Player.

Talk about some high expectations!

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Orlovsky Explains

“Best 2nd year situation for a QB since Mahomes…” Orlovsky reiterated in a quote tweet of the video clip.

He explained himself during the original ESPN segment:

They got three first-round offensive linemen now on their roster with Laken Tomlinson coming over as a free agent from San Francisco. They got two first-round receivers — Corey Davis being one, and then the addition of Garrett Wilson. C.J. Uzomah that’s been added at the tight end and Jeremy Ruckert, and really a first-round tail back in Breece Hall. I think Zach Wilson is set up to have a massive leap, a second year in the offense that traditionally gets quarterbacks to play maybe a little bit better than their talent. If Zach Wilson is even remotely close talent-wise to what the second pick in the draft should be, we’re talking a monster leap — similar to the one that Patrick had four years ago.

There’s no doubt about it, Joe Douglas has built around Wilson much better than Jets general managers have done in the past. The BYU product also appears to be in the best situation out of his entire draft class — aside from maybe Trey Lance, if he ends up starting in 2022.

Those two have something in common, by the way, the offensive system they are being asked to master. As we know, Jets OC Mike LaFleur was a long-time disciple of 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. Orlovsky pointed out that this playbook was designed to assist the quarterback.

I’ll add in a few more names the analyst left out too: Michael Carter, Elijah Moore, Braxton Berrios, Tyler Conklin, and dare I say, Denzel Mims or an unexpected rookie like Calvin Jackson Jr.

The Jets’ offense has more weapons than ever before, and a competent coordinator plus a second year learning the same playbook ties it all together. Mahomes may seem like a lofty goal to some, but not if you’re motivated to become the best. With that mindset, anything is attainable.

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More Support Adds More Pressure

We’ve seen the raw talent from Wilson that very few NFL QBs have, but fans will look for more consistency in year two. The 22-year-old did more of this down the stretch, limiting turnovers and playing within the system.

Now he needs to combine skill with composure. The elite NFL signal-callers do this better than anyone and it doesn’t have to fully take place in 2022, but you would like to see some more progress overall.

You’d also like to see more health — from Wilson and his playmakers. The Jets suffered too many injuries to survive a season ago and head coach Robert Saleh is already taking measures to address that issue this spring.

It’s no secret that higher expectations often equal more pressure. Too much hype can be a bad thing.

Having said that, this train has already left the station. Several analysts are putting the 2022 season squarely on the shoulders of Wilson and whether that’s fair or not doesn’t really matter. It’s happened, and as a former No. 2 overall selection, it comes with the job description.

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