Jets quarterback Zach Wilson hasn’t undergone the smoothest development up to this point.
While the 2021 No. 2 overall pick shows flashes of superb talent, poor decision-making and a knee injury put a damper on his rookie season. Wilson completed just 55.6% of his throws for nine touchdowns, 11 picks, and a measly 69.7 quarterback rating.
But things might be looking up for the novice signal-caller after a stellar Jets offseason. So much that an NFL quarterbacks coach still realizes Wilson’s incredible potential.
“Tell me one marquee player that he had around him last year,” the anonymous coach told The Athletic. “I still think the sky’s the limit for this kid. He’s got some young weapons now, and I think they are going to be a lot better.”
The brief sentiment about the lack of a 2021 supporting cast is obvious. Wide receiver Corey Davis battled injuries and missed eight games. The case was the same with then-rookie receiver Elijah Moore, who sat out six games including the final five.
The running game was below-average (98.1 rushing yards per game), a true No. 1 tight end was missing, the coaching staff was brand new, and starting left tackle Mekhi Becton missed virtually the entire season with a knee injury. Oh, and not to mention, the team’s last-ranked defense (397.6 total yards allowed per game) constantly forced Wilson and the offense to play from behind.
Combine that with Wilson’s injury (which sidelined him for four games) and you have a rookie campaign to forget.
But can those issues vanish in 2022?
The receiving corps will hopefully improve with a healthy Davis, Moore, and now rookie Garrett Wilson in the mix. A two-headed monster at running back (Michael Carter and rookie Breece Hall) and a reliable tight end trio (C.J. Uzomah, Tyler Conklin, and rookie Jeremy Ruckert) should also assist in Wilson’s development.
The offensive line is on the rise with the addition of left guard Laken Tomlinson and the defense is looking to improve with the additions of cornerback D.J. Reed, safety Jordan Whitehead, and rookie cornerback Sauce Gardner. Defensive end Carl Lawson is also returning from an Achilles injury that ended his 2021 season in training camp.
Every quarterback needs his supporting cast, especially during the early years of their career. Wilson’s 2022 assistance, compared to that of last year, is like night and day. Now it’s up to the second-year player to take advantage of the current situation.