It’s been quite the 2020 season for BYU quarterback Zach Wilson, who began the year as a mid-round NFL draft prospect with a high ceiling because of his athletic profile and quality arm.
Now, Wilson is on the verge of being a lock to be selected in the top five picks.
It’s easy to understand why. Wilson’s year was nothing short of extraordinary. He completed 73% of his passes for 3,699 yards, 33 touchdowns, and just three interceptions. And while the box score rarely tells the full story, and Wilson’s level of competition wasn’t exactly top-shelf, it was the way he accumulated those stats that matters most. Simply put, Wilson made some elite throws this season that were worthy of being described as Aaron Rodgers-like.
Yeah, you read that correctly.
And it’s not like Wilson’s draft hype is the product of a hot stretch of games or a few highlight throws. He was consistent all season and made difficult passes look routine. Scouts took notice, and one of the highest-profile draft analysts in the business has Wilson climbing his rankings.
ESPN’s Todd McShay moved Wilson ahead of Ohio State’s Justin Fields on his big board and has the Cougars star ranked as the eighth-best player in the class.
“What a rise for Wilson, now my No. 2 quarterback in the class,” McShay wrote. “He navigated his Cougars to an 11-1 record by completing 73.5% of his passes for 3,692 yards (third in the country), 33 touchdowns (second) and three interceptions. If that weren’t impressive enough, Wilson also has 10 rushing TDs. He threw for 425 yards and three scores in the RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl, and now he has a decision to make about the draft. I love Wilson’s competitiveness and toughness in the pocket, and he has a high-end ability to extend plays. His deep-ball accuracy is also outstanding.”
Fields has a chance to regain that QB2 ranking with a strong showing in the College Football Playoffs. If he leads Ohio State to the championship game and makes some big plays along the way, it’ll be hard imagining a scenario where Wilson will actually come off the board before Fields, who began the 2020 season as the only viable candidate to challenge Trevor Lawrence for the first overall pick.
McShay has Fields ranked one spot behind Wilson at No. 9.
Two other quarterbacks make the cut for McShay’s top 32: Trey Lance (North Dakota State, No. 22) and Mac Jones (Alabama, No. 31).It feels like we’re inching closer to these five quarterbacks as the final group of potential first-rounders.
Wilson has the momentum now. We’ll see if he can maintain it by the time the 2021 NFL draft rolls around.