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Were we overly critical over Zach Wilson in 2021?

Matt Harmon & Dalton Del Don discuss New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson, who is wrapping up his rookie season this Sunday. Was the NFL community overly critical of the BYU product, especially in comparison to fellow rookies Justin Fields and Trevor Lawrence?

Hear the full conversation on the Yahoo Fantasy Football Forecast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen.

Video Transcript

MATT HARMON: Why would– it feels like we, as a consensus out there– I love that I do “we,” and then I do the quotes. This is a podcast. Nobody can see that. You know, we are like, OK, Justin Fields will be fine. We just got to get him with a new coach. But we don’t feel that way about Zach Wilson, when, statistically, as passers, they are almost completely identical from, like, adjusted yards per attempt, net yards per attempt, passer rating, touchdown interception ratio. Like, however you want to look at it, they’re both down there with Trevor Lawrence in the bottom four of the league, and Sam Darnold, too. So shout out to Sam Darnold for still being there.

Like, OK. So take that as the premise. And you could argue that Zach Wilson is actually set up better next year than Justin Fields is, because same coaching staff is coming back in New York. I mean, most likely, right? And then they’ve got guys already there to take that next step on the roster. The Bears have, like, Darnell Mooney, and that’s it.

DALTON DEL DON: There are long-term concerns about Wilson, and the flags were so red for him to be this obvious number-two pick, even beforehand. But–

MATT HARMON: Yes, this is true.

DALTON DEL DON: –the guy ran a 55-yard touchdown a couple weeks ago that one of only a few other quarterbacks in the league could do. His arm is effortless. He throws such a pretty pass. He makes a couple of wow plays that– I’ve had other people try to show me some plays. Personally, don’t see it with Trevor Lawrence, like, ever. But I do actually see it with Zach Wilson, a play or two a game. I’m like, oh, oh, that did it. I’ve also seen him incredibly inaccurate, just miss gimmes in the end zone. Like, take– like, really–

MATT HARMON: 100%.

DALTON DEL DON: –or giveth and take away. Yeah. But– so yeah, I’m with you. I’m not totally writing off Zach Wilson. And he remains really interesting, fantasy-wise, because he can run. But yeah, you put these pieces around him. The coaching staff, theoretically, is right there. I mean, this is, in a way, an indictment of Wilson. Well, it is, but it’s also– at least there’s a puzzle. When he’s not been out of the game, that Jets offense with Mike White or Josh Johnson, Flacco, even– they put up actually big numbers. So it’s like, oh, maybe that system has some upside there.

MATT HARMON: He’s really good, yeah.

DALTON DEL DON: Yeah, so tinker. You know, get Zach Wilson, who obviously has higher upside than those quarterbacks with the throws of a potential. So if he can just execute the easier stuff and with– boy, find a bigger fan than me and then Elijah Moore. So yeah, I’m with you. There’s a lot of upside for the Jets.

MATT HARMON: Yeah, I just think that, like, I wouldn’t completely write off– if you’re going to completely write off Wilson, I think you have to then completely write off Fields, based on the way they’re– and I don’t– my point here is that I’m actually not writing off either of them. That’s the take here, for me, is that I think both these guys are, like, on equal footing coming into 2022 as, like– the odds are equal that either or both will be bad, basically. But we don’t– I don’t feel like we talk about Fields that way, probably. And this is probably just all pre-draft bias and, like, who you read and who you follow, that type of stuff.

DALTON DEL DON: Mekhi Becton went down in week one.

MATT HARMON: Yes.

DALTON DEL DON: I mean, their left tackle– I mean, their– his quarterback coach, Greg Knapp, died in a tragic bicycle accident a week before the season. I mean, absolutely don’t write off Zach Wilson.