Jets' Joe Douglas explains what he's looking for in next franchise quarterback

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Scott Thompson
·2 min read
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Zach Wilson BYU helmet off smiling with headband on close crop blue jersey
Zach Wilson BYU helmet off smiling with headband on close crop blue jersey

Jets GM Joe Douglas may not say it out loud, but all signs on Broadway, the New Jersey Turnpike, and the Garden State Parkway point to BYU QB Zach Wilson getting chosen with the No. 2 overall pick to be the team's next franchise guy.

No matter the case, Douglas and the rest of the Jets’ front office personnel have done their due diligence with every top quarterback prospect in this year’s class filled with franchise-caliber starters.

But Wilson, who improved his draft stock tremendously after last season, had Douglas and head coach Robert Saleh both in person to watch his Pro Day intently.

So how did Wilson capture the Jets’ interest to the point where Saleh’s only Pro Day showing with any quarterback was the trip to Utah to see him throw with his own eyes?

“It goes back to how important the quarterback position is in this game,” Douglas said alongside assistant GM Rex Hogan on Thursday. “I think we saw it last year down at LSU with Joe Burrow really having a stellar season and improving his stock. So, I think any time there’s outstanding play at quarterback, it’s going to be noticed.”

If Wilson is selected, Douglas will be forever entangled with his NFL career, especially considering prospects like Justin Fields, Mac Jones and Trey Lance are also high-quality players at the same position. Evaluating the lot involves many boxes to check, as Douglas has touched on in the past.

“Obviously scheme fit is important,” Douglas explained. “There’s so many traits you look for. Like you guys have heard me say, it’s the most important position in sports and there’s a lot that goes into it. Obviously, there’s the physical traits that go into it — the arm talent, the athleticism. Then there’s the intangible traits. The intelligence, the leadership, the mental toughness, the physical toughness. There’s really so many traits that goes into every quarterback evaluation and ultimately those traits are so important in determining a quarterback’s success.”

Nov 21, 2020; Provo, UT, USA; BYU quarterback Zach Wilson (1) reacts after their win against North Alabama in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, in Provo, Utah. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger/Pool Photo-USA TODAY NETWORK
Nov 21, 2020; Provo, UT, USA; BYU quarterback Zach Wilson (1) reacts after their win against North Alabama in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, in Provo, Utah. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger/Pool Photo-USA TODAY NETWORK

Douglas mentioned "one of the best meetings we've had this offseason" where Saleh and the rest of his staff broke down which players would fit their schemes at each position, and Douglas surely is taking that into consideration.

Scheme fit is important, and for new OC Mike LaFleur, getting the right quarterback to grasp the concepts quickly will only work more in the Jets' favor.

Is Wilson already that guy they believe will be leading the green and white in September? It appears that way. But we'll know for sure in one week.