Hope springs eternal and in the NFL nothing breathes optimism into a franchise like a new franchise quarterback. The New York Jets put their faith in BYU’s Zach Wilson to lead them from the doldrums of mediocrity with the number 2 overall draft choice. Gang Green is praying Wilson turns out more Steve Young than Ty Detmer.
At minimum, the team looks to be learning from the mistakes they made with their previous top draft pick, Sam Darnold. They hired an extremely competent coach from the 49ers, Robert Saleh while also adding an up and coming offensive wizard in Mike LaFleur. Here’s what to expect for the New York Jets in the upcoming season.
Obviously, much of their success rides on the shoulders of Wilson and how quickly he can adapt to the NFL. The major critique of Wilson coming out of college was how little pressure he saw at BYU, thanks to a dominant offensive line. At the highest level, clean pockets come along about as often as passive New Yorkers. How Wilson reacts to NFL pressure will go a long way in deciding the Jets season. NY Sportsbook BetRivers sees Wilson (+800) as the 6th most likely candidate for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
At least in his maiden campaign, Wilson won’t be without weapons, sorta. Jets GM Joe Douglas has attempted to surround Wilson with proven talent but the young QB will have to face the wolves without a true number one wide receiver. In accordance with their off-season pilfering of San Francisco, the Jets nabbed veteran running back, Tevin Coleman.
They also drafted Wilson’s backfield running mate, Michael Carter while bolstering the offensive line with Alijah Vera-Tucker and Morgan Moses. However, the fact that BetRivers set free agent WR Corey Davis’ O/U for receiving yards at 850.5 (O+100 / U -124) doesn’t instill confidence. There’s also talk of Jamison Crowder getting cut which would leave Wilson without many options.
If the Jets turn any heads this year, it’ll be thanks to Robert Saleh and a much-improved defense. In San Francisco, Saleh built a top-flight defense that nearly won a Super Bowl against one of the most explosive offenses in NFL history, led by Patrick Mahomes. However, in SF Saleh enjoyed a remarkable collection of all pros up and down the defense. By comparison, the Jets sorely lack the game-changing talent of Nick Bosa or Kwon Alexander.
Defensive Coordinator Jeff Ulbrich’s positive assessment spoke to their lack of headlining playmakers, “I would be hard-pressed to acknowledge one guy or another, it was a collective thing.”
It’s worth noting that the Jets have punted on a veteran quarterback behind Zach Wilson. James Morgan and Mike White fill the list of backups but neither has ever taken a snap in the NFL. Therefore, if Wilson struggles, there’s literally no hope behind him. That’s why FanDuel has listed the Jets (+1000) as the third most likely to end up with the fewest wins. Only the Houston Texans and Detroit Lions look as hopeless.