Joe Douglas says Jets should have had vet ahead of Zach Wilson in 2021
Hindsight is 20/20. Jets general manager Joe Douglas had a case of that recently when it comes to his 2021 No. 2 overall pick, quarterback Zach Wilson.
Douglas recently appeared on Pro Football Talk and discussed what he could have done differently in terms of the development of Wilson during his rookie season.
“I go back and I look at a lot of things and things that can be done differently, things that were in our control, out of our control. And every situation’s different. I feel like in today’s NFL, when you take a quarterback in the first round, and you take a quarterback high, time’s against you. And you need to see what you have so you can make a decision in that four-year window, three-year window.”
That’s been the nature of the beast in the NFL lately. If you take a quarterback high, you’re almost expected to play him as soon as possible. We’ll likely see that with Bryce Young in Carolina, C.J. Stroud in Houston and Anthony Richardson in Indianapolis.
But looking back, Douglas wishes the Jets would have brought in some kind of competition or a veteran for Wilson to learn behind.
“I think going back, it would have been great to have a veteran quarterback like a Joe Flacco that first season. But ultimately, we made the decision to jump in head first with our youth movement. We had so many first- and second-year players, new staff. Let’s go in and attack this thing with youth. We know there’s going to be some growing pains, but we’re all going to grow together. I think we saw some of the benefits of that last year. But sometimes you don’t take into account the ramifications of playing a young quarterback early in his career. And so, I think if I had to do everything over again, I would have probably had that veteran presence in the room early for Zach.”
Now entering his third season, Wilson will get the opportunity to sit behind a veteran with Aaron Rodgers now the man in the Jets’ offense. Time will tell if that will help save Wilson’s career. The Jet can still hold Wilson for two more years if they want to, as they have his Fifth-Year Option to decide on next offseason. For reference, Tua Tagovailoa’s option that was picked up by the Dolphins was worth $23.171 million. Wilson’s should be a little above that based on his playtime over his first two seasons.
The Jets are hoping having Rodgers not only boosts their chances in 2023, but also boosts the development of the former BYU quarterback, gets him back on track and gives them some kind of future at the position, especially for a team that likely won’t have a first-round pick in 2024.