Memo to Zach Wilson: You will be playing quarterback for the Jets, not point guard for the Harlem Globetrotters.
That message comes from Mark Sanchez, who has worn the cleats that Wilson soon will inherit. Sanchez was deemed the Jets’ savior as the No. 5 overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. Wilson is the presumptive No. 2 pick when the Jets are on the clock next week.
“When that ball’s snapped, you might not know where that ball’s going, and that makes some coordinators uneasy,” Sanchez said on “The Colin Cowherd Podcast.” “If you don’t need it, don’t use it. But if you have that trick shot in your bag, take it out when appropriate — and that’s going to be part of the learning curve for him.”
One knock on Wilson’s game is that he forces too many throws trying to create the spectacular play. He got away with taking chances more often than not playing for conference-less BYU against an independent schedule.
But in the NFL those highly non-recommended throws work for Patrick Mahomes and maybe one or two other elite veteran quarterbacks.
“My only fear with him was, a little too riverboat gambler when you don’t have to be,” Sanchez said. “When it’s an easy just routine grounder to second, you just flip it to first base. Don’t give me any around-the-back, through-the-legs Harlem Globetrotters. Just get the guy out.”
Sanchez lasted five seasons with the Jets before his once-promising career flamed out and was overshadowed by the Buttfumble. Since then, the Jets have been searching for someone else to lead the way back to the playoffs for the first time since 2010.
Sam Darnold, the No. 3 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, lasted only three seasons before he was traded to the Panthers to make way for Wilson.
Sanchez and Darnold came from California roots and a marquee USC program. Wilson is coming from quieter Utah roots.
“In addition to the speed of the game and all that kind of stuff, he’s coming from the Mountain West, he’s going to have a lot to learn,” Sanchez said. “He’s going to be in a very different media market. You’re going to have to stack all those things, and there’s going to be a learning curve for each of those categories – whether it’s media or the on-the-field stuff.”