BYU’s Zach Wilson is a magician whose methods generally fail


Main as much as the 2021 NFL draft, which begins April 29, Yahoo Sports activities will rely down our high 100 total prospects. We’ll rely them down in teams of 5 for Nos. 100-51, adopted by extra in-depth studies on our high 50 gamers, with assist from our scouting assistant, Liam Blutman. We reserve the precise to make adjustments to gamers’ grades and evaluations primarily based on harm updates, pro-day exercises or late-arriving info from NFL groups.

Different prospect rankings: Nos. 100-96 | 95-91 | 90-86 | 85-81 | 80-76 | 75-71 | 70-66 | 65-61 | 60-56 | 55-51 | 50. OT Liam Eichenberg | 49. WR Terrace Marshall Jr. | 48. LB Chazz Surratt | 47. EDGE Joe Tryon | 46. OT-OG Alex Leatherwood | 45. CB Asante Samuel Jr. | 44. DL Levi Onwuzurike | 43. LB Jabril Cox | 42. DT Daviyon Nixon | 41. EDGE Ronnie Perkins | 40. LB Nick Bolton | 39. CB Ifeatu Melifonwu | 38. WR Elijah Moore | 37. OT Jalen Mayfield | 36. EDGE Carlos Basham Jr. | 35. CB Elijah Molden | 34. RB Travis Etienne | 33. WR Kadarius Toney | 32. EDGE Jayson Oweh | 31. LB Zaven Collins | 30. DT Christian Barmore | 29. QB Mac Jones | 28. CB Caleb Farley | 27. RB Javonte Williams | 26. C-OG Landon Dickerson | 25. S Trevon Moehrig | 24. CB Greg Newsome II | 23. WR Rashod Bateman | 22. EDGE Greg Rousseau | 21. OT Christian Darrisaw | 20. RB Najee Harris | 19. LB-S Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah | 18. EDGE Jaelan Phillips | 17. OT Teven Jenkins | 16. EDGE Kwity Paye | 15. CB Jaycee Horn | 14. OT-OG Rashawn Slater | 13. OG-OT Alijah Vera-Tucker | 12. WR DeVonta Smith | 11. EDGE Azeez Ojulari | 10. CB Patrick Surtain II | 9. OT Penei Sewell

Here's how we use our prospect grades for the 2021 NFL draft. (Albert Corona/Yahoo Sports)

This is how we use our prospect grades for the 2021 NFL draft. (Albert Corona/Yahoo Sports activities)

8. BYU QB Zach Wilson

6-foot-2, 210 kilos

Yahoo Sports activities draft grade: 6.19 — doable quick starter

TL;DR scouting report: Swashbuckling, freewheeling creator with nice arm expertise who generally makes issues harder than they should be

Video games watched: Western Kentucky (2020), Houston (2020), Coastal Carolina (2020), UCF (2020)

The thin: A 3-star Rivals recruit, Wilson reneged from his early dedication to Boise State and landed with the Cougars. He performed in 9 video games as a real freshman, beginning seven and finishing 120 of 182 passes (65.9 p.c) for 1,578 yards, 12 TDs and three INTs and operating 75 occasions for 211 yards and two TDs. After present process offseason shoulder (labrum) surgical procedure, Wilson missed spring follow however returned within the fall to finish 199 of 319 passes (62.4 p.c) for two,382 yards, 11 TDs and 9 INTs, additionally dashing 67 occasions for 167 yards and three TDs in 9 begins. He missed 4 video games midseason after struggling a damaged thumb however returned to begin the ultimate 4 video games.

In 2020, Wilson accomplished 247 of 336 passes (73.5 p.c) for 3,692 yards, 33 TDs and three interceptions, dashing 70 occasions for 254 yards and 10 TDs in 12 begins for the 11-1 Cougars. Following the season, he declared early for the 2021 NFL draft.

Upside: Free, twitchy thrower who places your complete area in play. Really pure passer. Fast launch — ball simply shoots out of his hand. Capable of ship the ball fantastically, even when his mechanics aren’t excellent. Turned in a pro-day showcase — arm expertise was on show in all its splendor.

Accomplished practically 75 p.c of his passes in 2020 with a median depth of goal of 10.5 yards, per PFF. Compiled 33-3 TD-INT ratio and averaged greater than 300 cross yards per sport final season. Seven profession video games with 300-plus yards, two or extra TD passes and no picks. Solely three profession video games with two interceptions. Drastic enchancment in downfield accuracy from 2019 (34.0 p.c on throws of 20-plus yards) to 2020 (62.5).

Layers some lovely contact throws, even downfield. Executes play motion very well. Ball placement at occasions is elite — can put it the place solely his receiver could make the play. Dices up zone seams. Reveals the flexibility to undergo progressions. Excellent out of construction — thrives when performs break down. Makes him very tough to sport plan for.

Some true wizardry to his sport. No-look and half-look passes, generally proper previous a defender’s earhole. Ridiculous arm-angle manipulation — can ship from proper off the ear, shoot from his hip, or something in between. Already throws towards his physique higher than some NFL quarterbacks do. Fast RPO balls to catch defenses napping — fires them like he’s beginning a double play from shortstop. Thrives when throwing on the transfer, particularly when he’s moving into his throws.

Throws with nice anticipation. Made a bunch of Sunday timing throws — typically outdoors the numbers, on a rope. Doesn’t fairly have a Josh Allen-like cannon however will dish out eight or 10 dimes per sport. Can throw it 60-plus yards within the air. Excellent confidence in each his arm and in his receivers — lets it rip earlier than the wideout makes his break. Gutted a number of overeager safeties — smells blood within the water.

Scrambling can’t go missed. Some actual twitch as a runner and sneaky velocity. Completed baseball slider already. Can be utilized in read-option sport. Spins out of would-be sacks and lives to battle one other day — can put on down cross rush and protection over 4 quarters along with his means to increase performs. Fast toes within the pocket to reset and be a double menace.

Pure athlete with cutthroat competitiveness — performs with a big-play mindset. Fast thinker when the stress is on — artist with a aptitude for the dramatic. Has a giant persona to carry as much as the white-hot glare of a giant market. Raised his sport in a dramatic method in 2020 regardless of pandemic constrictions.

Draw back: Slim construct for a scrambling QB. Harm historical past — shoulder (which had lingered from highschool) and thumb accidents 2019. Struggled with turnovers down the stretch in 2019 after getting back from the damaged thumb.

Doesn’t at all times step into his throws — not a real “drive” passer. Drifts within the pocket and muddies his footwork, banking on his arm energy to bail him out. Results in some misses that must be made. Will sail some throws and depart a number of wanting the mark. Nonetheless studying when to throw the fastball and when to make use of the changeup. Too informal and lazy along with his mechanics — not everybody can play like a Patrick Mahomes spotlight reel.

Makes issues harder than they should be — lives and dies by the sword. Passes up the layup for the trick shot. Throws some hospital balls — will get his receivers killed with a number of of the high-and-over-the-middle throws he made final season. Can get itchy when the push comes — sees coloration flash, skips some reads and lets it fly. Rushes via his progressions — bypasses some wide-open targets.

Will get method too cute at occasions. Will be his personal worst enemy with some yard tendencies. Too many bounce balls in faculty that might be picks on Sundays. Bails out of the pocket too early. Thrived in a various, RPO-heavy, misdirection-fueled offense that had nice receiving expertise and cross safety — offensive line created a bulwark on most cross reps.

Ball safety a problem — 13 profession fumbles in 30 video games (28 begins). Carries the ball a bit low at occasions and might be victimized by bottom strips. Method too quick and unfastened early in his profession along with his method, and there have been indicators of it trickling into his 2020 play. Coastal Carolina sport raised some decision-making considerations.

Stage of competitors was extremely missing in 2020 — zero Energy-5 opponents on the schedule. Profession mark of 2-4 vs. ranked groups. Was not initially named a workforce captain on upperclassman-stacked roster (however he was on the workforce’s management council). Will let his feelings boil over at occasions, though he’s mentioned to have cooled down a bit in that regard.

Greatest-suited vacation spot: It’s been broadly speculated that Wilson is destined to be picked No. 2 total to the New York Jets, and we just like the potential match. New offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur figures to attract closely on the Kyle Shanahan system below which LaFleur labored in San Francisco, emphasizing the wide-zone run, play motion and heavy pocket motion.

That’s the place Wilson thrived — outdoors the pocket, creating house and opening up potentialities along with his arm, his legs and generally each without delay. How Wilson handles construction shall be attention-grabbing, although, and he gained’t have the identical caliber of cross safety or open seems to be he did at BYU. There shall be an adjustment interval amid the flashes, although, so expectations should be tempered.

Do you know: Wilson is in line to be BYU’s highest draft choose ever. The varsity has produced 9 first-round picks ever, with Jim McMahon (1982) and Ziggy Ansah (2013) each going fifth total. Because the 2011 draft, BYU has had solely six picks.

Participant comp: Jeff Garcia, however with a stronger arm.

Anticipated draft vary: High-3 choose

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