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NFL Draft

2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: QB Zach Wilson

  • The Draft Network
  • December 20, 2020
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Zach Wilson plays the game with good athleticism overall, as evidenced by his ability to escape and evade pressure both in and out of the pocket. This athleticism makes him a viable threat in the zone-read, giving opponents another thing to defend. In the passing game, he has made tremendous strides since the 2019 season. Some of these feats are “rare.” In fact, his ability to throw the ball with timing and anticipation is elite. His production in the clutch has been money in several instances in 2020. He plays with the poise and moxie reminiscent of a high NFL draft pick.

Ideal Role: Starting NFL quarterback.

Scheme Fit: A multiple offense with spread principles.


Games watched: Boise State (2020), WKU (2020), Coastal Carolina (2020), Houston (2020)

Best Game Studied: Boise State (2020)

Worst Game Studied: Coastal Carolina (2020)

Accuracy: Overall, his accuracy has been excellent in spurts. He has moments where he puts the ball away from the defender and other moments where receivers have to come back for the ball. Overall, there have been more instances of excellent accuracy, showing yet another area of progression from 2019 to 2020. 

Decision Making: There were several instances in 2019 of him being careless with the football. However, he's improved overall in this regard. He still has some ill-advised moments where he feels as if he can get away with some of the flashy, look-away plays that have become popular.

Poise: He has always demonstrated excellent poise in the pocket. He has an innate feel for the rush and does an outstanding job keeping his eyes downfield. He has also responded well to adversity to lead his team to victory, which is evident by his 2020 rebound from an inconsistent 2019.

Progressions: He does an excellent job of coming off his primary and checking it down when necessary. In the WKU game (2020), the running back was eager to get out in his route and forgot to chip the linebacker. The linebacker rushes and instead of his throwing it to his open front side slot down the field, he checked it down to the running back who had just leaked out and he scored a touchdown. This is tremendous growth from him, in that regard.

Release: His release is tight, compact, and efficient. That, along with his anticipation and timing, has afforded him the ability to get the ball in tight windows. His ability to change his arm angle to fit the ball where it needs to be is rare, as is his ability to get the ball wherever he needs to due to the fluidity in his release. 

Pocket Manipulation: He has demonstrated an excellent ability to manipulate the pocket. Whenever there’s pressure, he has subtle movements within the pocket and out of the pocket that buys him time. He does an excellent job of booting to his left, flipping his hips around, and delivering a strike. 

Arm Strength: For me, his arm strength isn’t the best attribute of his skill set, as it is for others. However, he certainly has proven to have the ability to get the ball where he needs to get it—particularly in the short-to-intermediate areas. On some of his deep balls, receivers have to stop and come back for it. Again, there's nothing alarming as he can make all of the required NFL throws.

Mobility: His mobility to maneuver in and out of the pocket is a strength. He can extend plays and get to the sticks on critical third downs. He also demonstrates his mobility when booting to his left, flipping his hips, and delivering the football downfield. 

Leadership: It is clear that his personality is infectious and his teammates gravitate toward him. He had to lead them through adversity in 2019 and in 2020. In 2020, they had a large target on their back as a result of the success and notoriety of him personally, as well as the team's overall success. He led them to an outstanding season. 

Mechanics: He throws the football with a wide base, presumably to get enough velocity on the football. Similar to a boxer who strikes from a wide base and ultimately overstrides, this prohibits him from stepping into his throws and getting the hip rotation he needs on some of his balls. 

Prospect Comparison: Tony Romo (2003 NFL Draft, Undrafted Free Agent)


TDN Consensus: 87.63/100

Joe Marino: 89.00/100

Kyle Crabbs: 86.50/100

Jordan Reid: 88.00/100

Drae Harris: 87.00/100

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