2021 Dynasty Rookie Guide: Zach Wilson Profile

Over the next few weeks the Team here at USN will release player profiles to help you get ready for your rookie draft. As the QB scout at USN, it’s only natural that I should profile them for dynasty as well. Some things we’ll look at are: Competition, projected playing time, skillset, weapons, scheme fit and then we’ll try to project 2021 stats as well as future outlook.

Competition and Playing Time

Like Trevor Lawrence, Wilson is an extremely safe bet to start as the only QB on the roster who would have threatened him is former starter Sam Darnold who was traded to the Carolina Panthers a few weeks before Wilson was drafted. Barring injury Wilson should be locked in as a starter all 17 weeks.

Scheme Fit

Given that the head coach (Robert Saleh) and the Offensive Coordinator (Mike LaFleur) are both in their roles for the first time at the NFL level, the scheme will be tough to predict this early. Both coaches do have roots in the Shanahan system and it is believed that they could be implementing a system with similarities to it. 

What does that mean for WIlson? 

It means that he could have a strong zone running game to build off of and that the team could use Wilson on rolls and bootlegs. That however is speculation at best as the Shanahan system has changed many times to fit the style of the Quarterback executing it. From statuesque pocket passers like Matt Schaub and Kirk Cousins to extremely mobile playmakers like Robert Griffin III. Wilson likely is somewhere in between those extremes and it will be extremely exciting to see how the system adapts to his unique style. 

Skill Set and Scouting Report

Wilson is a playmaker at QB position who makes difficult deep throws look much easier, showing almost cartoonish ball placement at times. While I doubt he’ll ever be confused for Lamar Jackson, Wilson is more than capable of making plays with his legs; especially near the end zone as he had 10 rushing touchdowns last season at BYU. Turnovers could be a problem early, as he often passes on easy throws for more aggressive ones, and because he seemed to struggle against the blitz as well. Here is his full scouting report:

Weapons 

This is where things can murky when trying to project Wison’s rookie year. The Jets have made big investments in trying to get Wilson some help, but there are some definite question marks for 2021. The offensive line could very well be the best it’s been in several years with last year’s first round pick Mekhi Becton, and this year’s first round pick Alijah Vera-Tucker anchoring it for years to come. 

The skill positions while, also improved over previous seasons, are either young or have real question marks. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Wide Receiver Corey Davis: 1,000 receiver on the Titans last season but struggled in previous years. Won’t have A.J. Brown to take some of the coverage away.
  • Wide Receiver Elijah Moore: Dynamic playmaker in college but is a rookie and could have some growing pains this season.
  • Wide Receiver Denzel Mims: 2020 Second Round Pick really caught on at the end of last season, but seems to be struggling in off season work so far; currently running as the 5th WR in practice 
  • Running Back Michael Carter: Rookie runner that runs and catches the ball at a high level; should end up as the lead runner in the committee by the start of the season
  • Running Back Tevin Coleman: Former Starting Running Back in San Francisco; historically has struggled to stay healthy.

There is a lot of potential in this group, certainly more than in recent years but there is very little proven production in this group. The burden will likely fall to Wilson to be the engine that makes this thing go, rather than the other way around. That could spell trouble in 2021 as the dynamic rookie passer adapts to the NFL.

2021 Projections and Future Outlook

Wilson has fallen behind fellow rookie QB’s Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, and Trey Lance as well as Wide Receiver Ja’Marr Chase, Running Back Najee Harris, and Tight End Kyle Pitts in superflex rookie drafts. Getting a kid at that position with his talent at that ADP is an absolute steal, no matter what team he plays for. He has a real case to be 1.02 if your team needs a week 1 starter, meaning he is an absolute must draft if he falls out of the top 5. 

His mobility and arm talent make him likely to see some early career success as long as the weapons around him develop with him. I do see turnovers as a possible issue (both interceptions and fumbles) and since I tend to plan for the worst case with rookies, that will factor into the projections a bit. I also foresee touchdowns being a bit lower than some of the  other rookies due in part to the supporting cast, but in contrast to that, the team will likely trail most games so attempts and yards could end up ballooning as a result.

  • 2021 Stat Line: 4100 Pass Yards, 21 Pass Touchdowns, 15 Interceptions, 250 Rush Yards, 4 Rush Touchdowns, 5 Fumbles 
  • Superflex Rookie Ranking: 4
  • Non Superflex Rookie Ranking: 13

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