Wilson Leading, But Jets Still Discussing Other QBs
Updated April 13, 2021
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.
The New York Jets traded away quarterback Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers, picking up assets but boxing themselves into taking another signal-caller with the second-overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. The consensus has been that the Jets will chose BYU quarterback Zach Wilson at No. 2, and team sources say Wilson is the heavy leader to be the selection. The decision is not final, however, so the Jets are still talking about taking other quarterbacks at the No. 2 pick. including Alabama's Mac Jones and Ohio State's Justin Fields.
Team sources say that in earlier team meetings, the Jets had discussions about every possible direction and plotted out strategy for a variety of scenarios. Some of the potential plans given consideration included taking Florida tight end Kyle Pitts or Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell and building around Darnold with one of those talents.
Ultimately, Jets general manager Joe Douglas wanted to reset the quarterback position. Douglas decided to start fresh with a clear quarterback of the future entering training camp to go with the new coaching staff. A freshly drafted quarterback also gives the Jets a cheap 5-year contract for that selectee, rather than them having to deal with the impending contract decision with Darnold.
Yhe Jets are leaning toward taking Wilson since making the decision to target a quarterback, and he is their heavy favorite, according to sources. Other options like Jones or Fields remain on the table, however. Jones is felt to be a good scheme fit for New York offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, while Fields may be better off going to a team with a veteran starter to provide him with more developmental time.
The Jets need their rookie quarterback to be ready to play quickly, and they feel Wilson and Jones are the most pro-ready. Jones is probably better suited to make the jump immediately, but Wilson clearly has a better skill set for the NFL with more arm talent, mobility and upside. Things may still change as the Jets finish up their pre-draft meetings, but right now, sources say Wilson is the strong favorite to be the team's choice.