BYU quarterback Zach Wilson has reached out to three former New York Jets quarterbacks—Josh McCown, Chad Pennington and Mark Sanchez—to ask questions about what it's like to play for the franchise and inside the country's biggest media market.
Aditi Kinkhabwala of the NFL Network provided that tidbit and more details about Wilson's preparations ahead of the 2021 NFL draft, where he'll likely be the Jets' choice with the No. 2 overall pick, based on a conversation with his QB coach, John Beck:
Clemson's Trevor Lawrence is the Jacksonville Jaguars' presumptive choice with the first overall pick, and the Jets are expected to follow by taking Wilson as part of a quarterback-heavy top 10.
The BYU standout put together a tremendous junior season in 2020. He completed 73.5 percent of his passes for 3,692 yards with 33 touchdowns and three interceptions across 12 games for the Cougars. He also recorded 10 rushing scores.
"Great staff. Love those guys," Wilson told reporters when asked about the Jets after his pro day workout in March. "Joe Douglas is a great guy. It was good to see him out here. They've got a good thing going."
Playing in New York is a different animal compared to any other U.S. sports market. Every mistake is amplified, and the pressure on Wilson's shoulders if he does come off the board at No. 2 will be even higher as Jets fans desperately seek an end to the team's NFL-high 10-year playoff drought.
Getting some insight from the likes of McCown, Pennington and Sanchez can only help as he prepares for what's to come in the months and years ahead.
Pennington and Sanchez in particular should both be able to provide some great information about the possible pitfalls as former Jets first-round picks who were able to find some success but couldn't quite attain franchise QB status.
Sanchez appeared on The Herd with Colin Cowherd earlier this week and provided a taste of the advice he'd pass along to Wilson:
"He's gonna be in a very different media market. You're gonna have to stack all those things, and there's gonna be a learning curve for each of those categories—whether it's media, the on-the-field stuff.
"So, my only fear with him was, a little too riverboat gambler when you don't have to be. When it's an easy just routine grounder to second, and you just flip it to first base, flip it to first base. Don't give me any around-the-back, you know, through-the-legs Harlem Globetrotters—just get the guy out."
Wilson has all the physical tools to succeed in the NFL, but it's hard to know whether he'll find long-term success with the Jets until he faces that first stretch of adversity in New York and is forced to bounce back when the headlines are already predicting his demise.