Jets OL Greg Van Roten sees veteran tendencies in rookie QB Zach Wilson

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Zach Wilson Greg Van Roten cropped
Zach Wilson Greg Van Roten cropped

Jets quarterback Zach Wilson is just a rookie, but right guard Greg Van Roten sees veteran habits out of the 2021 NFL Draft's No. 2 overall pick.

While Wilson has yet to take a regular-season snap and only two preseason appearances, the former BYU star enters next Sunday's opener at the Carolina Panthers with a strong endorsement from one of Gang Green's most experienced pros.

"I think he'll be fine," Van Roten said of Wilson this past Wednesday. "He's a rookie in name only. He prepares so well. He watches so much film. I've watched film with him and how he filters things. He's teaching me stuff about how to prepare for an opponent. Now it's up to us as a line, as a unit to block guys, give him time to let guys get open, let him make plays and not put the game solely in Zach's hands. Our job is to keep him clean and be able to run the ball to make his job easier."

Wilson completed 15-of-20 passes (75 percent) for 191 yards and two touchdowns without an interception in New York's first two preseason games, against the Giants and Green Bay Packers.

Against the Panthers, Wilson faces off with a fellow former top pick in quarterback Sam Darnold, whom the Jets traded April 5 to Carolina after a mixed three-year stint from 2018-20.

"I'm excited for Sam," Van Roten, who signed a three-year contract with the Jets in April 2020, said Wednesday. "I want to beat him, I hope he does well -- just not against us. He's in a good system for him. In Sam's first year down there, I want him to do well, but not so well against us. I wish him nothing but the best."