Former BYU quarterback Zach Wilson and former Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley are on different trajectories right now in their careers, but they do have one thing in common now: both are backup quarterbacks in the NFL behind a league MVP talent.
While Huntley went undrafted in 2020 and has backed up the Baltimore Ravens franchise quarterback Lamar Jackson ever since, Wilson is taking a permanent role as backup for the first time in his career after the New York Jets traded for 10-time Pro Bowler Aaron Rodgers this offseason.
How do the two stack up against the 32 backups for each NFL team?
Sports Illustrated’s Gilberto Manzano took his best shot at ranking the backup QB situation for each team, and Huntley and Wilson sit at opposite ends of the rankings.
Where is Tyler Huntley ranked on the list of backup NFL quarterbacks?
Huntley comes in at No. 8 on Manzano’s list, one spot ahead of Miami’s Mike White, a backup to Wilson last season in New York, and one behind San Francisco’s Sam Darnold, who Wilson was drafted to replace with the Jets in 2021.
“Say what you want about Huntley making the Pro Bowl last season, but there’s no denying that he’s been a quality backup while filling in for Lamar Jackson the past two seasons,” Manzano wrote.
“Huntley did enough in 2022 to keep the team afloat and helped the Ravens push the Bengals in their wild-card matchup. The quarterback known as ‘Snoop’ has command of the offense with a career passing percentage of 65.6.”
In his three NFL seasons, Huntley has started eight regular-season games — including four last season — in place of an injured Jackson.
In 2022, he made his first postseason start with Jackson still out with a knee injury, and Huntley threw for 226 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in a 24-17 wild-card round loss to Cincinnati.
Huntley is back with the Ravens for another season, as he signed his restricted free agent tender with the team worth $2.627 million, per Over the Cap. He’ll be a free agent in 2024.
Where is Zach Wilson ranked on the list of backup NFL quarterbacks?
After arriving in New York two years ago and immediately becoming the starter, Wilson has struggled to find consistency at the NFL level. That came to a head last year, when he was benched twice and ended the year as a backup.
Jets brass, including head coach Robert Saleh, have expressed commitment to Wilson and helping him regain his confidence, all while learning under a veteran in Rodgers.
“Wilson has also had a rough start to his career, but his next opportunity likely won’t come anytime soon after the Jets acquired Aaron Rodgers this offseason. Nonetheless, this might benefit the 2021 No. 2 pick in the long run by restarting his career as he learns from one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time,” Manzano wrote.
“New York did him no favors by rushing him to produce the past two seasons: Wilson posted an 8–14 record with 55.2% passing completion, 15 touchdowns and 18 interceptions.”
Wilson still has two years on his rookie contract with the Jets.