Six sacks and I counted nine other times, he barely got rid of the ball – – or else Jets quarterback (QB) could have been sacked an astounding 15 times against Carolina.
One interception, two other passes off the defender’s hands, two additional passes tipped at the line of scrimmage and one fumble Wilson was lucky to recover himself.
Add in Wilson’s inconsistent ball placement on short and intermediate passes and it is clear – – the Jets need to trade or sit their prized rookie, unless they want to get him killed.
The Jets made the Panthers defense (ranked 19th 2020) look like the Steel Curtain of the 1970’s.
The Jets, the team I worked for, back when Parcells took us to the AFC Championship game, look nothing like the team I worked for. They have a poor offensive line and next to no running game (team avg. 2.6 yards per carry espn.com). Combine those elements with Wilson, who has consistently shown all preseason, and again in the opener that he has little ability to make big plays – – and you have all the makings for the Jets being the worst team in the NFL in 2021.
I give Wilson credit, as I have not seen a QB take that kind of beating since Minnesota had to give QB Brett Favre smelling salts to revive him in the NFC Championship game years ago. However, there is no way he will hold up at this rate if the Jets do not immediately trade for a franchise back (who can take some of the pressure off him).
Prior to the draft, I put a third round grade on Wilson. I wrote to team owner, Mr. Woody Johnson and urged him not to take Wilson in the first round.
Granted, Wilson did make a handful of some really nice throws at the intermediate level of the field mixed in with all the sacks, pressures and misfires. However, whatever possibility of Wilson developing will never even have a chance of materializing if they insist on continuing to start him. Currently, Wilson is on pace to get sacked 102 times this season (17×6). The NFL record is held by QB David Carr on the Houston Texans (76 times back in 2002) and we see how that turned out (bust). Even if Wilson’s body held up, as an evaluator I have to wonder how long it will take before his confidence is shot?
Compounding the glaring mismanagement of the Jets, is fact they just so happened to go up against the Panthers and QB Sam Darnold, the guy they just traded (gave away) for a 6th round pick (2021) and 2nd and 4th round pick in next year’s draft.
How did the 23-year-old Darnold do against his old team?
Darnold went 24/35 for 279 yards, 1 TD and 0 INT (espn.com). That is who they got rid of so they could draft Wilson? Add in the fact former Jets’ receiver Robby Anderson hauled in a big 57 yard catch for a TD against his old team just adds injury to insult.
Translation = the Jets did not need to trade Darnold. They could have kept Darnold instead of management trying to extend their own paychecks by opting to try to sell the potential of another rookie QB and instead used the #2 pick or traded it for a bunch of picks to build with. For example, can you imagine how much better things would be if Darnold was throwing the ball to tight end Kyle Pitts (if they took him at #2) or what if they had kept Darnold and worked a deal with San Francisco instead of Miami (who was at #3 originally). What if they had gotten San Fran’s three number ones and gone from there? Now instead division rival Miami has those picks to build with.
As an aspiring GM – – I never in a million years would have taken Wilson for several reasons.
1. The Jets already had a solid veteran QB
2. There were too many other needs on the roster.
3. The trade and draft premium potential of having the #2 pick.
4. I never saw Wilson as a franchise QB.
Yes, Wilson looks polished as heck in the pocket – – I even said that in my pre-draft scouting report, but when the ball left his hands is where it ended for me. I sure hope it does not take the Jets another two, three, four years to figure out what I knew back before the draft.
Daniel Kelly is a former NFL scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated Detroit Lions and he is a contributing evaluator for Draft Diamonds. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @danielkellybook and his Facebook page is WHATEVER IT TAKES NFL TALK.