NY Jets: Zach Wilson’s rank among 32 backup QBs is alarming

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By: Michael Nania

Here is where Zach Wilson would rank out of the NFL’s 32 backup quarterbacks

New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh recently told reporters at the NFL’s league meetings that he expects Zach Wilson to be the Jets’ No. 2 quarterback.

Jets fans know Wilson clearly isn’t worthy of a starting quarterback job right now, but the threshold for being a solid backup quarterback is substantially lower. Would Wilson really be all that bad as a backup?

To answer that question, I decided to see where Wilson ranks among all of the projected backup quarterbacks in the league.

I went through each team’s depth chart and pegged their most likely QB2. Then, I ranked them all according to their career passer rating.

Note that in many cases, choosing who should be designated as a team’s backup quarterback is a subjective endeavor. Some teams have lingering injury questions. Some teams may hold competitions to determine who will be the backup. Additionally, many depth charts will be significantly altered by the draft.

So, this is just my best shot at estimating who will end up being the QB2 for each squad when it’s all said and done.

Some of the league’s current backup quarterbacks either have not thrown an NFL pass or have only thrown an extremely small number of passes. If a quarterback did not have a sufficient volume of pass attempts for their rating to be meaningful, I excluded them from the ranking and listed them at the bottom of the table.

Without further ado, here is a look at the career passer ratings of each team’s most likely backup quarterback.

Rk QB Team Career Rating Career Passes
1 Bailey Zappe NE 100.9 92
2 Gardner Minshew IND 93.1 933
3 Marcus Mariota PHI 89.3 2095
4 Tyrod Taylor NYG 88.2 1550
5 Nick Mullens MIN 88 655
6 Andy Dalton CAR 87.6 5396
7 Jameis Winston NO 87.5 2835
8 Mitch Trubisky PIT 86.4 1765
9 Taylor Heinicke ATL 85.7 830
10 Case Keenum HOU 85.2 2180
11 Cooper Rush DAL 84.9 212
12 Trey Lance SF 84.5 102
13 Jacoby Brissett WAS 84.4 1577
14 Brian Hoyer NE 82.9 1518
15 Kyle Allen BUF 82.2 704
16 C.J. Beathard JAX 80.3 510
17 Colt McCoy ARI 79.9 1220
18 Drew Lock SEA 79.3 710
19 Nate Sudfeld DET 77.3 37
20 Tyler Huntley BAL 76.6 305
21 Mike White MIA 75.4 307
22 Jarrett Stidham DEN 73.5 131
23 Zach Wilson NYJ 70.9 625
24 Joshua Dobbs CLE 66.6 85
25 P.J. Walker CHI 63.9 228
26 Malik Willis TEN 42.8 61
Kyle Trask TB N/A 9
Easton Stick LAC N/A 1
Jake Browning CIN N/A 0
Shane Buechele KC N/A 0
Danny Etling GB N/A 0
No QB2 On Roster LAR N/A 0

Zach Wilson’s career passer rating of 70.9 ranks 23rd out of 26 qualified backup quarterbacks. This suggests that Wilson would be one of the worst backups in the NFL going into Week 1.

As the Jets prepare for a season in which they will have legitimate Super Bowl aspirations, it would be puzzling if they remained content with Wilson as their backup. Say Aaron Rodgers goes down (knock on wood) – is Zach Wilson really the guy they want to see trotting out there in front of the raucous and unforgiving MetLife Stadium crowd? Taking over control of the franchise’s best shot at a championship in over a decade?

At the moment, only three teams (Cleveland, Chicago, and Tennessee) are poised to utilize a backup quarterback who has a worse career passer rating than Wilson. This is an alarming truth – one that Joe Douglas and the Jets should not ignore if they are serious about competing for a title in 2023.

There were plenty of appealing backup quarterback options on the free agent market this offseason, but most of them have already been signed. However, if the Jets are interested in pursuing a veteran backup, there are still a few players available who would probably be upgrades over Wilson, including Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan, Teddy Bridgewater, and Trevor Siemian.

Or, the Jets could select a quarterback in the middle rounds of the draft to provide competition for Wilson. Even if the rookie doesn’t beat out Wilson for the backup quarterback job, his presence should, at the very least, apply much-needed pressure on Wilson. Simply handing Wilson the job with no competition could be counterproductive for his development.

I’m curious to see how the Jets handle the back end of their quarterback depth chart over the next couple of months. Giving the backup quarterback job to Zach Wilson seems like an imprudent idea for a team that currently possesses the sixth-best Super Bowl odds at most sportsbooks and will be starting a 39-year-old quarterback.

Will the Jets add competition for Wilson? Or will they remain faithful to Wilson and hope for the best?

All that’s for certain is this: Based on what he’s done in the NFL so far, Wilson would enter the 2023 season as one of the least efficient backup quarterbacks in the league if he does indeed hold onto the role.

Next Article: Could the NY Jets trade down in the first round of the draft? 

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