The Jets are already embracing their next franchise quarterback — figuratively and literally.
BYU passer Zach Wilson was selected No. 2 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, becoming New York’s next best hope at solving its long-standing quarterback conundrum. Wilson, though, wasn’t without his warts entering the draft.
Wilson’s height and weight had become a conversation point before the draft. Though his measurables were about average (6-2, 214 pounds), his slender build gave some analysts and evaluators cause for pause.
Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reports that the Jets had a solution to figure out just how big Wilson was: At BYU’s pro day, the Jets asked 49ers linebacker and BYU alum Fred Warner to give Zach Wilson a hug so the Jets could get a better idea of just how big the quarterback was and how he measured up.
Warner was there to support Wilson and the rest of the Cougars trying to make their case to all the NFL teams there that day. He also served as a human measuring stick.
Hey Fred, can you go give Zach a hug real quick?
The first-team All-Pro obliged his old defensive coordinator, and in doing so helped Saleh, GM Joe Douglas and offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur put the final piece in place for the Jets’ decision on what to do with the second pick. The 6-3, 230-pound Warner is roughly the same size as Patrick Mahomes, and, as he approached Wilson, who’d faced questions about his size, the Jets’ brass could actually see it.
After the hug (and clean medical reports), the Jets were more comfortable with Wilson and feel like he could add a bit of weight to thicken up his frame entering 2021.
While Wilson may be on the smaller side compared with other quarterbacks selected in the first round, one thing is unquestionably big, and that’s his arm: Wilson put on a show at BYU’s pro day and in multiple games throughout his college career, culminating in a 33-touchdown, three-interception season with the Cougars in 2020.
The question remains though: Would things have worked out differently if someone gave Sam Darnold a hug?