New York Jets’ Zach Wilson in action before of a preseason NFL football game, Friday, Aug. 12, 2022, in Philadelphia.
Matt Rourke, Associated Press
The timetable for Zach Wilson’s return after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery last week isn’t clear, though there’s optimism he could return early in the NFL’s regular season.
How the second-year quarterback and No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 draft will fare in his sophomore season is equally unknown .
There had been positive buzz surrounding the former BYU and Corner Canyon High star prior to his injury, in part because of the young talent the New York Jets have been assembling around their franchise quarterback.
One oddsmaker, though, predicts that — at least in one metric — Wilson will have a rough 2022 season.
Along with Houston Texans second-year quarterback Davis Mills, Wilson has the highest odds from BetMGM to throw the most interceptions this season, Action Network’s C Jackson Cowart wrote for the New York Post.
The other top two candidates to throw the most interceptions are also second-year players — the Chicago Bears’ Justin Fields and the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Trevor Lawrence.
Wilson threw 11 interceptions as a rookie in 2021, to just nine touchdowns.
Most of those interceptions came in the first half of the season, as Wilson threw nine in the season’s first five weeks. After he returned from a knee injury midseason, Wilson threw just two, and he went the final five weeks without throwing one.
Cowart cited some advanced metrics that show why Wilson could be due to throw more interceptions this season.
“As a rookie, the Jets quarterback ranked dead last among qualified passers in completion percentage (55.6%), and he ranked 32nd among 33 signal-callers in QBR (28.2). While his season total of 11 interceptions ranked outside of the top 15, he ranked 28th in passing attempts (383) — fewer than two-thirds of the total attempts from INT leaders Lawrence (602) and Matthew Stafford (601),” Cowart wrote.
“In his 13 starts last year, Wilson owned the NFL’s seventh-highest interception rate (2.9%) — higher than Lawrence or Stafford — and ranked 10th in interceptions per game (0.85). That includes a four-INT effort in Week 2 against the Patriots, joining eight other quarterbacks to throw four picks in a game in 2021.”
The Jets have been busy this offseason surrounding Wilson with more talent, including rookies at the skill positions such as wide receiver Garrett Wilson and running back Breece Hall, while also adding veterans such as offensive linemen Duane Brown and Laken Tomlinson, as well as tight ends Tyler Conklin and C.J. Uzomah.
Cowart pointed to another stat as well: Wilson led all qualified starting quarterbacks in drop rate (12.7%), with 31 passes not being caught by his receivers.
“That high drop rate means one of two things: he didn’t get a lot of help from his receivers, or he didn’t help them enough with precise ball placement,” Cowart wrote.
“Given Wilson’s NFL-worst completion rate, it’s probably a combination of both, though adding top-10 pick Garrett Wilson and tight end C.J. Uzomah to a group that already features emerging wideouts Elijah Moore and Corey Davis is a boon for the sophomore QB.”
The Jets kick off the 2022 season hosting the Baltimore Ravens on Sept. 11.
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