Patrick Kinahan: Former BYU quarterback predicts stardom for Jets' Wilson

Former BYU quarterback Zach Wilson was selected with the No. 2 pick by the New York Jets in Cleveland, Ohio during the 2021 NFL Draft.

Former BYU quarterback Zach Wilson was selected with the No. 2 pick by the New York Jets in Cleveland, Ohio during the 2021 NFL Draft. (Jaren Wilkey, BYU Photo)

SALT LAKE CITY — The former national championship quarterback who later was charged to evaluate and develop talent at the position takes it nearly to the extreme with his assessment of Zach Wilson.

"Zach is going to be an exceptional NFL quarterback," Robbie Bosco said. "He is really, really good."

Even given the chance to walk back his opinion, Bosco remained steadfast. The starter during BYU's undefeated season in 1984, who later served as the program's quarterback coach and sometime play-caller, stayed in alignment with the New York Jets.

After taking Wilson second in spring's draft, the Jets are counting on him to resurrect the longtime downtrodden franchise. For better or worse, the former BYU star is in line to start as a rookie this season.

"He's not going to be a flop, I don't think," Bosco said during an interview with The Zone Sports Network. "The guy's a very talented quarterback. I think he's going to do very well as an NFL quarterback. It's just the time (Wilson will need)."

Not that it will be painless.

Befitting of his draft position, Wilson is charged to lead a team that has enjoyed only one winning season since 2011. The Jets bottomed out last season at 2-14, afterward cleaning house and starting over with a new coaching staff.

"He's not going into an easy situation. But I think from what I hear, at least they say they're going to be patient and really not think too much about this year and hopefully look for the future," Bosco said.

"Regardless of who you are or what you're doing, a rookie quarterback put in a situation of trying to lead an NFL team to the playoffs, Super Bowl or what have you — it's very difficult. It's not going to be easy."

True to Bosco's prediction, Wilson struggled in his first appearance at the Jets home stadium in New Jersey during their annual Green & White public practice. Before a crowd of nearly 20,000 Saturday, Wilson threw two interceptions and directed the offense to only one field goal in seven possessions.

The presumptive starter completed 11-of-24 passes for 112 yards. As expected, he admitted the need to get better before the season starts next month.

"I have high expectations for myself and this offense," Wilson told reporters. "I have to lead the guys and I have to make better decisions. That's why this isn't Game 1; that's why we're doing this. I understand that. Of course I'm going to be frustrated with myself, but I'm going back to the film room and find out what I can learn."

NFL history shows that no quarterback is guaranteed success making the difficult jump from college football. But Wilson's selection one spot below former Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who played at the highest level in college during his three years, will draw more than the usual scrutiny.

Wilson put up great numbers as a junior last season without playing one game against Power Five competition. The COVID-19 ravaged season forced BYU to piecemeal together a schedule on short notice after several P5 conferences decided to cancel all nonconference games.

But Jets management obviously had no problem looking beyond the weak competition in selecting their expected franchise quarterback. To open a spot for Wilson, the new leadership traded away Sam Darnold, the former USC quarterback who was taken with the third pick in the 2018 draft.

Bosco, who works in the BYU athletic department, cautions to look beyond BYU's schedule last season. It's more about looking at Wilson's talent and his ability to grow into the quarterback position as the team matures.

"When you look at what he can do it's not about what he did during the season, although that's part of it," Bosco said. "But they really vet these quarterbacks, especially if you're going to be taken in the top five. The things that Zach can do are really special."

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About the Author: Patrick Kinahan

Patrick Kinahan is a radio host for 97.5/1280 The Zone and the Zone Sports Network. He, along with David James, are on the air Monday-Friday from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. To read more of his articles, visit Patrick's author page.

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