The pick we've all seen coming for a month has finally arrived, and New York has its new franchise quarterback.
The Jets selected BYU passer Zach Wilson with the second overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft on Thursday night in Cleveland, completing a process that began months earlier, when it became clear Gang Green was likely headed to a new era under center. With the trade of Sam Darnold clearing the runway, Wilson has landed in New York, where he'll take over as the captain of these new Jets.
And these Jets will also include offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker, as the Jets traded with the Minnesota Vikings to move into the No. 14 slot and selected the USC guard. The Jets traded away the No. 23 overall pick along with the Nos. 66 and 86 picks to the Vikings.
Robert Saleh's first draft as head coach has landed him a quarterback of the future, and one who wasn't on most radars a year ago at this time. Powered by BYU's rise to prominence and an offseason spent dedicated to working on his craft, Wilson vaulted to the top of draft boards toward the end of the abbreviated college season, and his impressive pro day finished the job, shooting him up to and cementing him at No. 2.
Wilson's strengths shine across multiple departments. The 6-foot-2, 214-pound quarterback is remarkably accurate, firing darts into tight windows at multiple levels all over the field throughout the course of his final season with the Cougars. He's as impressive when on the move, too, shining in his off-platform throws in a way only rarely seen from New York's former quarterback.
Wilson is also not one to shy from the pressure he'll undoubtedly encounter in New York. Perhaps his most impressive throws of 2020 came with his team needing to drive the length of the field in the final minutes to score a game-tying touchdown at Coastal Carolina. The frantic possession saw Wilson rip ropes to his favorite receiver Gunner Romney and brought BYU within a yard of a score when time expired.
He'll need that poise and moxie, along with the rest of his physical talents, to lift the Jets out of the cellar in which they've dwelled for too long for anyone's liking. With Saleh and offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur moving from the successful 49ers organization to New York, and a productive free agency period restocking a previously bare cupboard, the Jets appear poised to begin such a turnaround with Wilson leading the way.