Zach Wilson, Trevor Lawrence, NY Jets, Chris Simms
Zach Wilson, Trevor Lawrence, New York Jets, Getty Images, Jet X Graphic

Former pro signal-caller takes Zach Wilson over Trevor Lawrence

After the first head-to-head battle between Zach Wilson and Trevor Lawrence, the top two selections in the 2021 NFL draft, plenty of hot takes have circulated around the NFL world regarding both players’ futures. Wilson came out on top with the 26-21 victory, but both passers showed some promise.

One of the most pro-Wilson takes came from former NFL quarterback Chris Simms on his show “Unbuttoned” at NBC Sports.

The 2003 third-round pick raved about Wilson, making it clear that he prefers the BYU product over the Clemson product.

“Watching both of these guys play on film; not every week, but a lot of weeks; I’m still more impressed with Zach Wilson as a quarterback than I am Trevor Lawrence,” Simms said.

Simms remains high on Lawrence, but not high enough to outduel his bullishness on Wilson.

“Lawrence has a chance to be a superstar. I think Zach Wilson will be a superstar,” Simms proclaimed.

Simms explained where he thinks Wilson has the edge over Lawrence.

“(Wilson)’s a better thrower. He’s better in the pocket. Lawrence is not good in the pocket and that showed again yesterday. That’s one of the areas of the game he’s got to work on.”

Getting deeper into Wilson specifically, Simms elaborated on what he thinks makes Wilson special.

“There’s always a handful of throws from Zach Wilson where I’m like, ‘Damn, that was a good one.’ … His movement’s special. Like, it’s special. The way he can get out of the pocket, make people miss, do that. To me it’s different than Trevor Lawrence. (Wilson) is better in the pocket, he’s better at getting outside of the pocket,” Simms explained.

“What (Wilson) did yesterday, not making any crucial mistakes, made some plays with his legs, they ran the ball, they had no (expletive) receivers to throw to in the football game basically, I mean come on. That was a damn good win for the Jets. It really was.”

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As Simms touches on, Wilson has begun to showcase some high-level potential as a rusher since returning from his knee injury in Week 12.

After averaging 1.0 rush per game (excluding kneeldowns) for 3.7 yards with no touchdowns prior to his injury, Wilson is averaging 3.0 rushes for 23.2 yards with four rushing scores over his last five starts. His rushing prowess seems to suggest that he has full confidence in the health of his knee.

On the season, Wilson ranks eighth among quarterbacks in rushing touchdowns (8), fifth in the percentage of his carries resulting in at least 10 yards (25.0%), fourth in missed tackles forced per carry (0.25), and first in yards after contact per carry (4.5), per Pro Football Focus.

With more than twice as many total touchdowns (7) as turnovers (3) over his past five starts, Wilson is making some tangible progress to close his rookie season.

Wilson will face a completely new challenge this Sunday as Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers visit MetLife Stadium for a 1 p.m. ET showdown.

You can listen to Simms’ comments on Wilson in the video below, beginning around the 1:30:29 mark.

Audio Version available to members only: Learn more here

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Michael Nania is one of the best analytical New York Jets minds in the world, combining his statistical expertise with game film to add proper context to the data. Nania scrapes every corner, ensuring you know all there is to know about everyone from the QB to the long snapper. Nania's Numbers, Nania's QB Grades, and Nania's All-22 give fans a deeper and more well-rounded dive into the Jets than anyone else can offer. Email: michael.nania[at]jetsxfactor.com - Twitter: @Michael_Nania
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Jets71
Jets71
9 months ago

Let’s hope he’s right. I haven’t watched much of Lawrence, I was never of the opinion he was a “generational talent” (what a dumb way describe a player’s talent) but I haven’t seen as much out of Zach as I would like at this point. I can’t be sure either is going to be a good pro yet. I will say Wilson looked as good as I’ve seen him last week, and more needs to be made of him leading that group of rubbish to a win. If that were another rookie QB (we all know who), we’d be throwing up with how much ESPNquirer would be saying “how good.”