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Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports


Don’t Rule Out Zach Wilson to the 49ers

Rohan Chakravarthi
Apr 25, 2021 at 12:30 PM


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I know. Zach Wilson has been deemed a "lock" to the Jets for the past month, much like Trevor Lawrence with the Jaguars. And his case was made stronger through the trade of Sam Darnold.

Still, there is a valid argument that Zach Wilson could end up being a 49er in this draft due to fit concerns, and much more.

Zach Wilson has been an electrifying prospect to watch, gaining notoriety especially for his off-balance throws, which many compare to those of Patrick Mahomes. Whenever a prospect's name is around the same vicinity as Patrick Mahomes, his potential is sky-high.

However, despite all the Zach Wilson reports, I still believe that there is a possibility of Zach Wilson being the pick at No.3.



Fit Concerns


Something I believe to be an underlying concern with Zach Wilson is his fit with the Jets.

Now, compared to all the other elite quarterback prospects in this class, Zach Wilson's size is below average, sitting at around 6'2" and 214 pounds.

The problem comes with Wilson's game itself. Zach Wilson is an electrifying player, but many of those spectacular throws come from outside the pocket. Wilson is recognized as an "off-script" passer, who uses his feet to extend plays and find teammates down the field.

However, that luxury that elevates his game to another level may not be there in the NFL, especially on the Jets, due to their poor offensive line. Ranked at 29th amongst all offensive lines in 2020, the Jets have failed to protect their quarterbacks in recent years.

Poor offensive line play will result in a collapsed pocket for Zach Wilson, and while he played strongly under pressure at BYU, his offensive line was superior compared to competition in 2020.

In addition, during games, Zach Wilson was often able to stick with his first read, rather than having to go through multiple progressions, and when that play was dissolved, Wilson elected to use his legs to scramble and make plays.

In the NFL, with cornerbacks being much more talented, Wilson will have to make quicker progressions, but cannot rely on his legs as much if drafted by the Jets due to their lackluster offensive line.

In contrast, if Zach Wilson were to fall to the 49ers, he would be supported by a much stronger offensive line, manned by the top tackle in football last year, Trent Williams. This would increase his playmaking ability and allow for him to use his legs in order to create more plays for his teammates, pushing the ceiling of his team.

The 49ers are a prime fit for Wilson as they have a strong offensive line, which will be very useful on quarterback-option plays, and a solid receiving corps whose main goal is to get YAC, or yards after the catch, alleviating the pressure on Wilson to make plays.

Instead, the better fit for the Jets would be Justin Fields, whose bigger frame at a height of 6'3", and a weight of 228 pounds, would allow him to scramble more often because the bigger size would help him be less susceptible to hits.

Durability Concerns


Another potential problem with Zach Wilson and the Jets are Wilson's durability issues. Wilson has had both shoulder and hand injuries, for which he needed surgery to repair. While medical reports have said that they are properly healed, Wilson has future durability concerns, especially with his leaner frame.

Wilson has relied on his shoulder and arm power to throw for the majority of his spectacular plays, causing concerns about whether he is exerting too much pressure on the area. While Wilson proved to be fine last year, extra pressure and more quarterback hits would certainly elevate the chances of re-injury, like Nick Foles in Jacksonville.

If Wilson were to fall to the 49ers however, a combination of scheme fit and the strength of the offensive line would play to Wilson's benefit.

Kyle Shanahan's offense in the passing game primarily focuses on yards after the catch, meaning that his preference for quarterbacks is accuracy in the short and intermediate parts of the field.

With this system, Wilson's cannon of an arm would fit perfectly as he quickly gets the ball to receivers in those areas of the field, and would not have to exert as much pressure with his throwing motion due to the balance of run plays and the depth of each throw.

Closing Thoughts


Overall, I am in no way saying that Wilson to the 49ers is anywhere near a lock; however, it should not be cast away as impossible. Draft day has given us some surprising moments in years past, and if Wilson falls to three, he would be a spectacular fit with the 49ers offense.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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