Broncos QB Zach Wilson Breaks Silence on Offseason Trade From Jets

Zach Wilson, Denver Broncos

Getty Zach Wilson #4 of the Denver Broncos.

Denver Broncos quarterback Zach Wilson is one of what Head Coach Sean Payton called the “orphaned dogs” after OTAs on May 23. Wilson, Jarrett Stidham, and Bo Nix are all still early in their tenures with the team coming from other stops.

Stidham is the longest-tenured, and Nix will likely have the longest stay as the No. 12 overall pick in this year’s draft. But Wilson arrives with the highest draft pedigree of them all.

Wilson expressed excitement in his first public comments since his trade from the New York Jets.

“Obviously, there’s bittersweet moments in everything,” Wilson told reporters after the initial OTAs on May 23. “I was grateful for my experiences there, and the guys. Miss the guys out there and everything too. But, at the same time, fresh starts are good. And I’m excited to attack the new challenge.

“I feel like you learn the most when things don’t always go the best. You bank those reps and you learn from them. And through years of things being challenging, you learn a lot of things. So hopefully I can carry those with me.”

The No. 2 overall pick of the 2021 draft, Wilson arrives with a 12-21 record, completing 57% of his passes for 6,923 yards, 23 touchdowns, and 25 interceptions.

Wilson, who the Broncos got for a late-round pick swap, is optimistic about learning from Payton.

Zach Wilson Looking Forward to Learning From Sean Payton

Sean Payton, Denver Broncos

GettyHead coach Sean Payton of the Denver Broncos.

“Obviously, he’s [Payton) done a phenomenal job for as long as I can remember,” Wilson said. “I loved watching him with Drew [Brees] back in the day, just the efficiency they played with, how consistent it was, how explosive it was, and just taking what the defense gives you. So just looking to keep growing. Learn something new every day from him.”

Wilson also had strong praise for Nix, with whom he is competing for the starting spot. All three of Nix, Stidham, and Wilson have taken turns taking reps with the Broncos’ starters. That could change if Nix proves he is ready.

“Phenomenal dude. Great guy. Funny. Works his tail off,” Wilson said about Nix. “It’s good for all of us to keep pushing each other.”

Wilson has always struggled with accuracy and consistency, which showed through in OTAs.

“I’m interested to see Zach Wilson. Now, he’s not Sean Payton’s kind of guy. So, that’ll be interesting if he has a little flavor just for him,” former NFL QB Phil Simms said on the “Chris Simms Unbuttoned” podcast on May 20. “If Sean Payton doesn’t fix him, Zach, have a good life.”

Wilson is up against the odds, with a quarterback more experienced in the offense than him as well as the franchise’s first-round pick in the room.

But he also has support from a franchise legend.

Zach Wilson Hoping to Pick Brain of Broncos ‘Legend’

Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos

GettyNFL Hall of Fame member Peyton Manning.

Hall of Famer and two-time Super Bowl champion Peyton Manning spoke highly of all the Broncos’ quarterbacks.

Manning has some level of personal relationship with Stidham and Nix. But not Wilson.

“I reached out to him when he signed,” Manning told reporters on May 22. “Sounds like they got great competition over there that’s always good. Makes everybody better. And so I think the quarterback position is in good shape. And you know I think Sean’s system is extremely quarterback-friendly. I never played in it, but played against it and watched it and know the success that Drew Brees had and Tony Romo had. So, it’s a kind of system that I’d like to play in, right? It’s very quarterback-friendly.

“It’s a great second chapter for Zach. And like I said, it’s a great system to play in. And sometimes guys just need a need a reboot or whatnot. So like I said, I haven’t had a chance to meet him personally. But I pull for all quarterbacks, I really do. And I think coming here to this system and having good competition with guys like Bo and Stidham can be good for everybody. So, pulling for him in this second chapter.”

“It’s exciting,” Wilson said about hearing from Manning. “He’s an unbelievable player. I grew up always watching him and the way he plays the game, he competes. He attacks it. And he’s a legend out here so hopefully I can spend more time with him, pick his brain.”