Today marks a big day on the pro day circuit with BYU quarterback Zach Wilson working out for teams ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft. There’s thought he could go No. 2 overall.
As it turns out, the Philadelphia Eagles will be in attendance to see Wilson. More specifically, they’ll be represented by offensive coordinator Shane Steichen and quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson (per Albert Breer). This duo previously attended Trey Lance’s pro day at North Dakota State earlier this month.
It’s clear, then, that the Eagles are doing their homework on top quarterback prospects leading up to this year’s draft. And as they should be. For as much as some might like Jalen Hurts’ potential, he’s far from a lock to be a franchise quarterback.
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen previously sorta suggested there’s some internal support for the Eagles to trade up and get Wilson. But that inclination doesn’t come from Jeffrey Lurie, who reportedly wants to give Hurts a chance as the 2021 starter.
BGN’s Benjamin Solak previously profiled Wilson in-depth. A sampling:
It’s hard not to fall in love with Wilson’s arm and say “Okay, we’ll figure the rest of this out later.” I’m sure the Eagles’ coaching and scouting staffs will evaluate his advanced repertoire of NFL throws and playmaking and fall in love with him as a project.
With that said, it’s difficult to style Wilson as an ideal scheme fit for a traditional West Coast offense. He doesn’t play with the optimal sense of rhythm and spacing and is too willing to default to backyard football; his aversion to the middle of the field can be limiting. If Sirianni also wants to stick with a pocket passer, as he’s had for the last few seasons, then they won’t value Wilson’s throw-on-move ability as much as other teams.
Wilson would be a fine pick at 6 and projects as a future starting quarterback, but I’d be surprised if the Eagles value him enough to trade up for him at the top of the first round. I’d be stunned if they end up with Wilson on the team come April.
More from BGN’s Ben Natan:
What He Does Well: Zach Wilson does just about everything you want a quarterback prospect to do. Physically, Wilson has all the tools with a big arm, good athleticism, accuracy, and velocity to hit any window on the field. Wilson ran the BYU offense with increasing efficiency every season and put in a brilliant 2020 season despite not having great weapons around him. Wilson is tough as nails too; willing to hang in the pocket under pressure to deliver throws. There are already rumblings that the NFL loves him and it’s hard not to see why.
Where He Can Improve: Wilson will have curiously bad plays almost out of nowhere. His poise can sometimes turn into stubbornness: He’ll take head-scratching sacks where he could easily check the ball down or throw it away. Also, he can improve the change up on his passes. Having an arm as strong as Wilson’s means he wants to gun it on every attempt when sometimes the pass just needs a lot less juice. It is not uncommon to have physically gifted passers like Wilson who rely too much on their physical gifts and make mistakes. Wilson also has an injury history that needs to be looked at closely.
High-End NFL Comparison: Matt Stafford has gone his whole NFL career wowing with his strong arm and his ability to hang in the pocket to make big-time throws. Stafford has also been plagued by his own talents. In the same way, Zach Wilson occasionally hangs in the pocket for too long or trusts his arm strength too much. If he can reel those aspects of his game in, look out.
NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah has Wilson as his overall No. 4 prospect and second-best quarterback:
Wilson has average height and a lean/narrow frame for the quarterback position. He’s an excellent athlete and generates several wow plays in every game I’ve studied. Wilson has a dynamic throwing motion. He carries the ball low but once his hands separate, the ball comes out in a hurry with a high level of RPMs. He’s extremely accurate from a variety of platforms and arm angles. He makes some incredible throws while fading away with both feet off the ground, and he can drive the ball to the boundary from the far hash. He also uses his quickness and creativity to buy time to let his targets uncover. He’s effective on designed QB runs, but that part of his game will need to be limited at the next level due to his lack of size. My only real concern with Wilson is durability. He’s already been through shoulder surgery (after his freshman season) and he doesn’t have an ideal frame. If he can stay healthy, his upside is enormous.
The guess here is that Wilson goes off the board right after Trevor Lawrence and NOT to the Eagles trading up for him. Still makes sense for Philly to get to know him better in case he unexpectedly falls to them.