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#pounditThursday, June 20, 2024

Jets GM admits to 1 big Zach Wilson regret

Zach Wilson holds up a ball

New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson throws during warmups before an NFL game against the Cincinnati Bengals at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

The New York Jets still claim Zach Wilson is a part of their future, but few believe the No. 2 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft will ever become what the organization envisioned when they drafted him. Wilson has not developed as the Jets hoped he would, and general manager Joe Douglas pointed to one thing he would do differently now if he had the chance.

Douglas said Wilson might have benefitted from a veteran backup as a rookie in 2021, and that the team may have been too eager to embrace a youth movement.

“I think going back, it would have been great to have a veteran quarterback like a Joe Flacco that first season,” Douglas told Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. “But ultimately, we made the decision to jump in head first with our youth movement. We had so many first- and second-year players, new staff. Let’s go in and attack this thing with youth. We know there’s going to be some growing pains, but we’re all going to grow together.

“I think we saw some of the benefits of that last year. But sometimes you don’t take into account the ramifications of playing a young quarterback early in his career. And so, I think if I had to do everything over again, I would have probably had that veteran presence in the room early for Zach.”

Wilson and Mike White handled quarterback duties for the Jets for much of 2021. The Jets did eventually add Flacco via trade, but that did not happen until late October.

The Jets are no doubt hoping that Wilson can watch and learn from Aaron Rodgers now that he will have no choice but to accept a backup role. Rodgers seems enthusiastic about the situation, but the reality is that it may be too little, too late for it to work.

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