Broncos Analyst Thinks Zach Wilson Is More Talented Than Most 2024 QB Prospects

Zach Wilson throws a football.

Getty The Denver Broncos acquired QB Zach Wilson via trade with the New York Jets.

On paper, the Denver Broncos‘ trade for Zach Wilson wasn’t a wise bet. In three seasons with the New York Jets, he completed 57% of his throws and had more interceptions (25) than touchdown passes (23). However, the low-risk investment could pay dividends if he manifests improvement under Sean Payton.

Though Wilson hasn’t lived up to expectations, Fox Sports’ Mark Schlereth intimated that he would still put his money on Wilson rather on than the other quarterback prospects in the 2024 NFL draft. The former Broncos offensive guard said Wilson’s talent surpasses that of most of the quarterbacks waiting to hear their names called in the draft.

“But I guarantee you if we’re just evaluating talent, do I think he’s more talented than pretty much every guy in this draft? Yep, I do,” Schlereth said to co-host Mike Evans on the April 24 episode of’s “Schlereth and Evans.”

With Evans seemingly taken aback by his co-host’s declaration, Schlereth added, “Oh, heck yes…. Arm talent, athleticism, absolutely, without question.”

Schlereth’s assessment mirrors what draft analyst Lance Zierlein observed about Zach Wilson before the 2021 NFL draft. Listed under the former BYU quarterback’s strengths were “deep and intermediate accuracy was outstanding” and “athletic play extender with big-play mindset outside the pocket.”

However, Zierlein gave Wilson a 6.5 prospect grade, translating into boom-or-bust potential. Unfortunately for the Jets, the latter outcome happened. He won only 12 of 33 starts and led the league in lost fumbles (7) in 2023.

Advanced Stats Highlight Zach Wilson’s Disastrous NFL Career

GettyZach Wilson played his first three NFL seasons with the New York Jets.

Wilson’s game tape depicts a highly regarded quarterback who struggled to find his mark in the NFL. Aside from his inability to adapt against better defenders, other factors beyond his control came into play. He had to play in hostile environments while dealing with problems on their offensive line. Having two offensive coordinators in three seasons didn’t help either.

While those reasons are speculative, the numbers don’t lie. As a consolation, his 58.2 overall grade from Pro Football Focus for 2023 is higher than his 46.6 mark in 2022. Unfortunately, he had seven games with an overall rating of lower than 60 last season.

Meanwhile, states that Wilson had the worst expected points added (EPA) per play (-0.220) and the lowest success rate in dropbacks (38.6%) among starting quarterbacks with at least 320 plays in 2023.

Regarding the same stats,’s Andrew Mason wrote on April 23, “There have also been just eight single seasons since 2021 in which a quarterback had an EPA/play below minus-.090 and a success rate below 40 percent. Wilson is responsible for three of them.”

These numbers justify why Wilson found a new team days before the 2024 draft. He had no takers, even if the Jets allowed him to seek a trade as early as February. According to ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter, the Jets had to split Wilson’s $5.5 million 2024 earnings with the Broncos to finalize the transaction.

NFL Analyst Thinks Wilson Will Benefit from Sean Payton’s Mentoring

GettyDenver Broncos head coach Sean Payton

The lack of suitors shows how the league perceives Wilson. The Jets had to split the tab and trade a seventh-round pick to get him off their roster.

However, in the April 23 edition of “Pro Football Talk,” NBC Sports’ Chris Simms said that playing for Payton would be a good situation for the Utah native. “Now, he gets to be with a guy like Sean Payton, who is a quarterback whisperer. He’s gonna stay on him about mechanics and thought process. He’s gonna teach him things that he just, quite honestly, no disrespect, hasn’t learned from some people yet.”

To summarize the successful reclamation jobs Payton has done over the years, Mason wrote in the same article for Denver Sports, “Repairing Zach Wilson and transforming him into a functional starting quarterback would require perhaps the most phenomenal repair job ever completed by Sean Payton, whose past includes the revivals of quarterbacks such as Kerry Collins, Teddy Bridgewater and a post-labrum-tear Drew Brees. But all operated at far higher levels relative to their era than Zach Wilson.”

Even Russell Wilson improved under Payton’s tutelage despite their animosity. But even with Zach Wilson in the fold, the Broncos could still consider drafting a quarterback and potentially trade up to land a top-tier prospect.

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