2021 NFL Draft: Jets, Zach Wilson not a guarantee to happen

Don’t put Zach Wilson to the New York Jets in pen for the 2021 NFL Draft just yet.

There are a number of interesting pieces of information floating around just two months prior to the 2021 NFL Draft regarding the Jets and their quarterback pursuits in the 2021 offseason.

With general manager Joe Douglas staying on and hiring defensive specialist Robert Saleh as his new head coach (along with fellow former 49ers assistant Mike McDaniel as offensive coordinator), is there a legitimate chance Sam Darnold is going to keep his job for another year?

There might be some compelling reasons to do exactly that.

According to Peter Schrager (NFL Network), we shouldn’t be so quick to assume the Jets are going to use the second pick in the 2021 NFL Draft on Wilson, but not only that, the team might be open to the idea of Darnold resurrecting his career in their new style of offense.

Peter King of NBC Sports thinks that Joe Douglas might balk at the idea of even trading for Deshaun Watson, much less using the second pick on a rookie quarterback like Wilson.

Then you have Ian Rapoport’s recent report that the Jets are in no hurry to trade Darnold, despite interest coming from other teams.

There are some who believe that if he were included in the 2021 class, Darnold would be the QB2 behind Trevor Lawrence. For just about any other NFL team, acquiring Darnold in a “buy low” type of situation seems rather appealing.

Darnold is still just 23 years old. He has not exactly had the best situation in New York being coached by Adam Gase, and perhaps a changing of the guard on the coaching staff is just what his career needs to be turned around.

The Jets, at present, have assets in free agency and the NFL draft to be able to properly build around Darnold. As Schrager alluded to in his segment with Colin Cowherd, perhaps the Jets could take an offensive lineman at pick no. 2 overall like Penei Sewell of Oregon instead of a quarterback and give Mekhi Becton an elite prospect to bookend at the tackle spot.

Perhaps the Jets could trade down and still take one of the draft’s top offensive linemen or wide receivers.

For a number of QB-needy teams around the league, Darnold is a really attractive reclamation project. If he’s still got that potential, why would the team that drafted him not do everything in their power to extract it?

The Jets do not have to take a quarterback atop their 2021 NFL Draft class. Each player in this class presents their own level of risk, the major difference with Darnold being the Jets have a history with him and know him very well.

It wouldn’t be wrong for the Jets to at least hope on Darnold making strides in year four, especially if they can improve his situation with better talent around him and a better, more fitting offensive scheme.