There are many who wanted the 49ers Jets quarterback Zack Wilson to take on the 2021 NFL Draft. With his flop, would things have been better for him with the Niners instead?
Once again, we need to reinforce the conclusion we came to not so long ago: the 2021 NFL Draft quarterback class failed to impress despite being ranked as a great one before the actual draft even began.
San Francisco 49ers fans remember them well, of course, after their team reached third place overall in a huge deal.
One target on the radar for head coach Kyle Shanahan & Co., at least in theory, was former BYU quarterback Zack Wilson, who was eventually picked up by Shanahan’s former defensive coordinator-turned-New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh by just one point. . From where the Niners were picking.
Shanahan eventually grabbed quarterback Trey Lance right after.
Lance has been through his ups and downs, including landing on injured reserve at the end of the season two weeks into his first full year as a starter in 2022, bringing veteran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo back into the equation.
San Francisco, however, is an envious problem, at least in Gang Green’s view, as Salih ultimately chose to bench Wilson after a disastrous outing against the New England Patriots in Week 11 and on a more than lackluster sophomore tail. The season is like the beginning of New York under center.
Wilson bench exceeds a completion percentage of 55.6 with four touchdowns to five interceptions and a 72.6 passer rating. There are serious questions about Wilson’s maturity, responsibility and leadership as well, all of which factor into Saleh’s decision to pull the plug.
At least for now.
Did the 49ers dodge a shot with Zack Wilson, or would he have done better in San Francisco?
Context and situation are both important to where any quarterback (or player) is drafted. Obviously 49ers fans can go back to 2005 and wonder if quarterback Aaron Rodgers would have enjoyed the same kind of career he eventually had with the Green Bay Packers if the Niners took him first overall that year over quarterback Alex Smith, and that discussion refuses to go away to this day.
Would Wilson have been better off with Shanahan than going to New York?
Wilson could have had a lot more weapons at his disposal in San Francisco, yeah, and the Jets basically needed a full year to give the quarterback a decent lowly back-up squad.
Plus, as with Lance, Wilson likely rode off the bench behind Garoppolo in his first full year as well.
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Perhaps it would have aided Wilson in his maturity, and one would suggest that the 49ers locker room is remarkably strong, and likely will not tolerate a lack of leadership on Wilson’s part, even if he is in a backup role.
However, Niners fans also know very well that Saleh is a solid presence as well, so his shift to the point where Wilson should be on the bench suggests that going to San Francisco instead wouldn’t have made all that much difference.
Wilson may have had a slightly better and easier path with the 49ers instead of the Jets, but the locker room dynamics and personality will still be question marks. And he’ll still struggle on the field too, maybe a little less.
In short, the Niners should be simply happy New York eliminated any possibility of re-drafting Wilson in April of 2021 by picking him first.