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2021 NFL Draft: A look Into PFF's projections for BYU quarterback Zach Wilson

Provo, UT, USA; BYU quarterback Zach Wilson (1) looks down field in the first half during an NCAA college football game against Texas State Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Provo, Utah. Mandatory Credit: Rick Bowmer/Pool Photo-USA TODAY NETWORK

The 2020 college football regular season has come and gone, and with it many of the meaningful games for most of the NFL draft prospects.

With that development comes our shift to analyzing how well these players will do at the NFL level. With the New York Jets‘ (+17) win against the Los Angeles Rams in L.A. Sunday, heightened focus will now be on who the second-best quarterback will be in the draft come April. 

Last season, I debuted our college-to-pro projection system, and with it, we discussed some of college football’s best players as they transitioned from the amateur game to the pro game.

These projections yield a range of outcomes for a player, which adds nuance to takes like the one given in this article about Justin Herbert. Our median projection for Herbert’s yards per attempt average was roughly 6.4, but his current performance (7.1 yards per attempt, up from 6.9 before the start of the week) was well within the set of projected values. 

With Trevor Lawrence the easy favorite to be taken with the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and Justin Fields not only having a poor performance in the Big Ten title game Saturday but also having less data and tape in 2020 than a lot of players, questions remain about who the second-best prospect is in the upcoming quarterback market.

In his third year leading the BYU Cougars, Zach Wilson has emerged as college football’s highest-graded passer in 2020 (95.2 passing grade). In leading the Cougars to a 10-1 record, Wilson has just two games all season with a PFF passing grade under 80.0; he took just 10 sacks all year and averaged almost 11 yards per pass attempt.

Wilson has really excelled throwing the ball deep downfield, going 32-of-51 with 10 touchdown passes (and just two interceptions) on passes thrown more than 20 yards in the air in 2020.

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