Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson hope to play up to hype against one another

Zach Wilson
Photo: Getty Images

Don’t disable that Jags-Jets game this Sunday by default. Yes, watching that matchup could cause the waves of nausea you’re experiencing, but you may also have eaten too many candy canes on Christmas Day, so wait at least a quarter. Listen to me.

The top two picks of the 2021 Draft, Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and BYU’s Zach Wilson, will meet in a battle between rookie quarterbacks at noon the day after Christmas. As you probably know, they are at the helm of two of the worst teams in the league respectively, the Jacksonville Jaguars 2-12 and the New York Jets 3-11. So while the TV product might not be exactly great, this should be an interesting case study of what the future of QBs might look like in relation to each other.

This is only the fourth time since 1967 that the quarterbacks chosen as first and second overall will face each other during their first year in the league. Both have seen the bottom half of our weekly beginner chart fairly consistently, but that’s how it goes with the talented beginner QBs on “intermediate retreading” teams (and to be honest with Trevor, retreading is a lot more difficult with Urban Meyer leading the charge). With probably nothing to lose and against an equally bad opponent, we may begin to see glimpses of what Lawrence and Wilson might be like.

We might not even do this, as their offenses don’t change, just the defenses they are playing against. But at least it will be on par. Lawrence has struggled with accuracy all season, particularly on passes from over 20 yards (only four out of 25 have found the hands of his receivers). He’s looking as far as possible from the former “generational quaterback” hype he saw during his college years, but I’m not convinced that player is gone, he’s just adjusting. The young secondary of the Jets, along with several other team members, will be severely exhausted this week due to the COVID protocols. This could allow the Jags’ receivers to create some separation and give Lawrence – known for his arm and accuracy throughout college – to regain some confidence and see open targets on the field after a season defined by interceptions.

Wilson, who has recovered from a knee injury, hasn’t scored a touchdown in his last two games, so he’ll probably have to do some against the Jags. Known for his impromptu style of play, he was not quite able to adapt to the Jets’ attack (in fact, their highest offensive output occurred during matches with Wilson’s knee injury). Even the Jets need to win this game. I am at home. They don’t have the excuse that they just lost an incredibly toxic head coach, which means the real Jacksonville rebuild hasn’t even begun. Wilson’s month-long absence has shown the Jets’ management and fan base that he is, in fact, replaceable, which could give him the boost he needs to correct his consistency in short passes and continue his streak. of zero intercepts.

So yes, the quality of the game will put a little bit of a brake on a QB matchup that would have looked great on paper a year ago, but if nothing else, it should still be an interesting game on a day where nothing really happens. But the reality is, of course, that there will be seven more (arguably better) NFL games broadcast at the same time, so don’t blame yourself if you switch channels before falling asleep in a food coma.


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