2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Zach Wilson

  • Zach Wilson, 6-3/210

  • Quarterback

  • BYU

  • Zach Wilson Scouting Report
    By Charlie Campbell

  • Powerful right arm
  • Can make all the throws in the NFL
  • Pushes the ball downfield
  • Accurate passer
  • Can throw a hard fastball into tight windows
  • Good deep-ball accuracy
  • Throws a pretty deep ball
  • Makes big throws off platform
  • Able to loft in touch passes
  • Throws a catchable ball
  • Stands tall in the pocket
  • Moves his eyes
  • Works through his progression
  • Can throw receivers open
  • Doesn’t miss open receivers
  • Shows good timing
  • Anticipation
  • Good athlete
  • Dangerous runner
  • Can buy time with his feet
  • Can hurt defenses on the ground
  • Quickness and burst as a runner
  • Quick feet
  • Shifty runner in the open field
  • Wise to avoid hits as a senior
  • Intelligent
  • Good recall
  • Confident
  • Competitor
  • Brings energy to his team
  • Upside

  • Weaknesses:
  • Aspects of poor football character
  • One-year wonder
  • Lean build; could stand to add weight
  • Lacks experience against elite competition
  • Should get quicker working through progressions
  • Accuracy suffers under pressure

  • Summary: Entering his senior year, I wrote that Wilson had flashed some talent as a sophomore and junior, but in 2020, he needed to transcend from being a game manager into play-maker and point producer. Wilson completed 66 percent of his passes in 2018 for 1,578 yards with 12 touchdowns and three interceptions. The following season, he completed 62 percent off his passes for 2,382 yards with 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

    Wilson hit the nail on the head in terms of taking his game to another level in 2020, helping the Cougars dominate an extremely weak schedule while completing 74 percent of his passes for 3,692 yards with 33 touchdowns and three interceptions. Wilson crushed just about every opponent with the exception of losing to Coastal Carolina. Wilson could have returned to BYU for 2021, but decided to enter the 2021 NFL Draft.

    Wilson has the skill set to be a good starting quarterback in the NFL. He has a strong arm capable of making all the throws and good deep-ball accuracy. Wilson shows the ability to fire strikes in the short to intermediate part of the field and good ball placement to lead his receivers for more yards. There is no doubt that Wilson can really spin it, with the velocity of his throws letting him fit the ball into tight windows. He shows the ability to work off his primary read in the pocket and does not panic when his first read is covered. His timing, anticipation, accuracy, and field vision are on point to be an effective pocket passer.

    Wilson is a natural passer who can put air underneath the ball and loft in beautiful touch passes downfield. His ball placement is advanced, and he throws a very catchable ball without unnecessary velocity despite his powerful arm. Many college quarterbacks who have similar arm strength fire too many fastballs, leading to drops and deflections, but Wilson does an excellent job of easing off and throwing the ball with the needed velocity for the completion. When needed, he can rifle a laser past defenders into tight windows. Wilson should fit any offense as a pro.

    Wilson possesses special mobility and athleticism. He is a dangerous runner with excellent balance and agility to dodge pass rushers in the pocket. Thanks to his feet and mobility, Wilson is able to extend plays, and he has the arm strength to make big throws off platform. Wilson is a threat to pick up yards on the ground as well thanks to some shiftiness in the open field. Wilson brings a backyard baller’s style of play who brings energy to his team.

    Like all players going into the NFL, there aspects for Wilson to work on. Speeding up his reading of defenses and working through his progressions faster will help him. BYU had a good offensive line, and he had wide open receivers against weak competition, so working faster is going to be a necessity for him. Wilson also can have a tendency to let some passes sail high when pressured. He also will make some throws back across the field that he could get away with in college, but he will have to be more selective about doing that as a pro passer.

    In speaking to a director of college scouting from a NFC team that is in the market for a new quarterback, they outlined the makeup concerns with Wilson:

    “Johnny Manziel comp without the [drugs]. [Wilson] is fun to watch, but is he a 1-year flash in the pan? He’s a backyard baller who is fun to watch.

    “Someone will grab him in the first. I doubt he gets to the second, because once the third quarterback goes after Lawrence and Fields, there will be a run on them. [Wilson] has character concern, rich kid who is an entitled brat -uncle owns Jet Blue -, parents are a pain, not a leader, selfish, and he’s a know-it-all.

    “His positives are that he’s super competitive, not to get [sic] scared and won’t back down, extremely confident, very smart with keen recall and teammates will play for him.”

    That college director outlined the makeup of Wilson well with the good and the bad, but that NFL team is very strict on football character, so perhaps that plays into them having Wilson as the fourth quarterback. Given that Wilson is confident, intelligent, and has good recall, one can expect he will interview well with teams during the leadup to the 2021 NFL Draft. In those short sessions, those qualities will come across, so many coaches will probably like Wilson.

    In speaking to a director of college scouting from another team, they said this regarding Wilson in the first round:

    “He’s going to go high. He may rise to the second quarterback in the draft. I think he’s a second-rounder, but I just feel the quarterback spot is different than others and the round is just a starting point. The postseason process changes a lot. He is as talented as the rest, minus Lawrence.”

    Given his skill set and ability to interview well, Wilson should continue to rise throughout the leadup to the 2021 NFL Draft. He could be the second quarterback selected and will be some team’s franchise quarterback to build around. Wilson has the skill set and ability to be a solid starter in the NFL.

    Player Comparison: Drew Lock. Some team sources have said that Wilson is a better version of Drew Lock, but they have very similar skill sets with arm strength, mobility, and a gunslinger style of play.


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