It appears some within the New York Jets organization weren’t all-in on quarterback Zach Wilson well before he flopped during the 2022 season.
For a piece published Wednesday, ESPN’s Rich Cimini reported that Jets general manager Joe Douglas, assistant general manager Rex Hogan and then-offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur were sold on Wilson ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft. However, Cimini noted that “some talent evaluators within the organization didn’t see Wilson as worthy of being the No. 2 pick” and instead viewed the BYU Cougars star as “a developmental player who could be a starter within three years.”
Additionally, “two sources familiar with the pre-draft process” told Cimini that Hogan and LaFleur “were the driving forces behind the decision” to draft Wilson second overall, which the Jets did after the Jacksonville Jaguars selected Trevor Lawrence with pick No. 1. Hogan and LaFleur allegedly went so far as to suggest Wilson could be better than Lawrence, which apparently baffled some within the franchise.
Wilson’s second pro campaign was nothing short of a disaster. He missed the first three games because of a knee injury, produced lackluster performances on the field upon his return and upset teammates over an unwillingness to accept responsibility for the club’s 10-3 loss to the New England Patriots on Nov. 20. That attitude ultimately got Wilson benched in favor of Mike White to the delight of Jets players such as rookie wide receiver Garrett Wilson.
According to ESPN stats, Zach Wilson ended this past regular season dead last among eligible quarterbacks with a 72.8 passer rating and a woeful 54.5% completion percentage. He tossed six touchdown passes and seven interceptions in nine games.
The Jets and LaFleur “mutually” agreed to part ways last month. Meanwhile, Garrett Wilson,
running back Breece Hall, and cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner are among noteworthy names who have openly discussed the Jets possibly trading for Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers this offseason.