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NFL Exec: Zach Wilson 'Maybe' as Talented an Athlete as Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 29, 2021

BYU quarterback Zach Wilson looks on before participating in the school's Pro Day football workout for NFL scouts Friday, March 26, 2021, in Provo, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

Zach Wilson has turned more than a few heads with his athleticism and arm strength, both on tape and during his pro day. 

But is he reminiscent of quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers in that regard? As one AFC executive told Albert Breer of SI.com, he might be:

"From a tape standpoint, he wasn't as good as [Mahomes and Rodgers] coming out. But that's easy to say now. Some of the ability to throw from different angles, and with a release that quick is similar to those guys. Rodgers is probably more appropriate. Remember, people weren't super [excited] with Rodgers' arm either, which seems crazy now. So is he as talented as those guys, as an athlete? Maybe. Is he gonna be a great generational quarterback? I don't know."

Wilson made waves with one particularly impressive throw at his pro day, the sort of toss that not many quarterbacks could make:

Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network listed Wilson as the No. 4 player overall on his updated big board Monday, calling him an "an excellent athlete" who generates "several wow plays in every game I've studied."

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He added: "He's extremely accurate from a variety of platforms and arm angles. He makes some incredible throws while fading away with both feet off the ground, and he can drive the ball to the boundary from the far hash. He also uses his quickness and creativity to buy time to let his targets uncover."

Jeremiah noted that Wilson's durability is a concern, given his past shoulder surgery and a lean frame. But the talent is clear. 

The executives Breer spoke with all seemed to agree on two things: Wilson's arm ability was impressive, and he went into his pro day with a better frame and weight (214) than they were expecting. 

The 21-year-old had a monster 2020 season for BYU, throwing for 3,692 yards, 33 touchdowns and just three interceptions, completing 73.5 percent of his passes in 12 games. That, combined with his exciting natural talent, has him skyrocketing up draft boards. 

At this point, it would be shocking if the Jacksonville Jaguars didn't draft Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence No. 1 overall. But Wilson seems likely to be a real contender to go No. 2 overall to the New York Jets. It's hard to imagine he'll slip past the top five picks. 

Whether he becomes anything close to a Mahomes or Rodgers remains to be seen. That he's evoking those names in the lead-up to the draft, however, is impressive.   

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