NEW YORK — Steve Young says the Jets are all-in on BYU’s Zach Wilson.
The Hall of Fame quarterback with the San Francisco 49ers — who himself was a star QB for the Cougars in the 1980s — revealed captivating insight this week regarding Wilson and the thinking of both the Jets and the 49ers ahead of the NFL draft.
Young was asked on San Francisco’s KNBR 690 AM radio’s “Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks” podcast on Wednesday about what he expects from Wilson in his first year in the NFL.
“There’s no question in my mind that if, if they (49ers) can figure out how to get Zach, that’s their number one first choice. I just don’t know how to get it done. The Jets have committed to Zach and recruited the family. I don’t know how that gets undone, but a lot could happen,” Young said. “Speaking with some of the coaches and for the Jets, they’re pretty committed to Zach.”
The Wilson-to-Jets train keeps picking up steam and it seems likely he will be the No. 2 pick when the Jets are on the clock on April 29.
The 49ers jumped up to No. 3 overall in the draft in a blockbuster deal with the Dolphins last month. The 49ers moved up from No. 12 to target a quarterback, giving up a 2021 third-round pick and first-round picks in 2022 and 2023, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Could things change? Sure, in the 2020 NFL draft, it seemed the Dolphins were set on drafting Justin Herbert with the No. 5 overall pick. Then the Fins selected Tua Tagovailoa. They might regret that selection after Herbert — selected one pick later by the Chargers — broke NFL rookie quarterback records last season, but time will tell.
Could the Jets do something similar where the buzz is Wilson and then they draft Ohio State’s Justin Fields? Possibly. Never say never. But at this point, don’t bet on it. Where there’s smoke there’s fire, and the smoke is screaming Wilson.
The only reason why Sam Darnold is still on the Jets at this point is because the offers that GM Joe Douglas has received aren’t satisfactory. If a team offered an early draft pick, Darnold would already be gone.
On Thursday, NBC Sports’ Dan Patrick addressed the ripple effects of the 49ers-Dolphins blockbuster trade. Patrick also included a nugget about a team that could potentially be interested in Darnold.
“Now, Carolina is a team that still wants to move up. ... Denver has wanted to move up,” Patrick said on the “Dan Patrick Show.” “But if they can’t then what do you do? If the Niners couldn’t move up, they were interested in Sam Darnold. And I asked my source, ‘OK knowing what you know with the Jets and Zach Wilson, what do the Jets do?’ And my source said, ‘The Jets are hoping for a second-round pick for Sam Darnold. They’ll settle for a third, and my guess is Carolina, if they aren’t able to move up, they would be interested in Sam Darnold.’”
If Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Wilson are the first two picks of the draft, the remaining highly-touted quarterbacks would be Alabama’s Mac Jones, North Dakota State’s Trey Lance and Fields.
If the Panthers come out of the draft without any of those quarterbacks (they sit at No. 8 overall), Carolina potentially targeting Darnold would be a good situation for all parties. The Jets would find a trade partner that’s desperate to add talent at quarterback and could fetch a second or third round pick. The Panthers would get a player who’s more talented than Teddy Bridgewater.
As for Darnold, he would be surrounded by the most offensive talent he’s ever had in his career. Going from the Jets’ supporting cast to the Panthers weaponry of All-Pro RB Christian McCaffrey, former Jet WR Robby Anderson and WR D.J. Moore could turn his career around. It would be similar to how Titans QB Ryan Tannehill saved his career after leaving the horrible Adam Gase and landed in a situation that fit his strengths.