Mel Kiper Jr. says Jets should take Justin Fields over Zach Wilson

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Tyler Greenawalt
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Zach Wilson looks like he’s headed to the Jets as the second overall pick, but not everyone thinks he’s the second-best quarterback in the draft.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. believes the Jets would be better served taking Justin Fields because of the level of competition Wilson faced, his injury history and Fields’ more consistent production.

“I’ve been consistent with Justin all along,” Kiper told the Rich Eisen Show this week. “The way he performed like a champion against Trevor [Lawrence] in that semifinal game, I think cemented it for me… I did stick with Fields for that reason.”

Fields threw for 385 yards and six touchdowns in a monstrous win over Lawrence and Clemson to advance to the College Football Playoff title game this past season – all after he took a debilitating shot to the ribs that almost took him out of the game.

Kiper’s major criticisms with Wilson revolve around his injury history and a soft schedule.

“Undeniable arm talent,” Kiper said. “The year he had… was phenomenal. Now granted, it was against an inferior schedule.”

Wilson finished the 2020 season with 3,692 yards, 33 touchdowns and just three interceptions.

“So he had some talent around him, but I just think that Joe Douglas fell in love with the talent and said, ‘OK, I love this kid. I can reset the clock. Sam Darnold, I liked but I can move him on, get some draft picks,'” Kiper said. “If they weren’t picking second and in a position to draft Zach Wilson, he would’ve stuck with Sam Darnold and not moved on. So obviously for him, it was Trevor Lawrence or Zach Wilson and nobody else.”

Kiper also said that if he was running the Jets he would have kept Darnold and drafted someone like Kyle Pitts or another pass-catcher second overall or traded out of the pick.

“I think Joe Douglas just fell in love with Zach Wilson,” Kiper said, “and that’s the bottom line on that.”

Douglas hasn’t categorically said whether Wilson will be the pick for the Jets, but all signs continue to point to Wilson being the team’s next quarterback. New York really can’t go wrong with Fields or Wilson, but Wilson appears poised to assume the Jets’ starting quarterback mantle.

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