Zach Wilson might not be the highest touted college quarterback by the majority of scouts — that mantle goes to Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields — but he’s certainly had the most buzz over the last two months.
That’s largely because Wilson set the world on fire in 2020 after a disappointing 2019 campaign. Wilson (6-3, 210 lbs) finished the season with 43 touchdowns (30 through the air) and just three interceptions. Per ESPN, he ranked in the top five of qualifying passers nationally in yards (3,692), yards per attempt (10.8) and completion percentage (73.2%).
His stellar season as catapulted his draft stock, with ESPN experts Mel Kiper and Todd McShay mocking him around the 13th or 14th pick in 2021. As it currently stands, the 49ers would have the 12th pick in the draft, so it’s no surprise that Wilson’s name has increasingly become included in conversations involving the team, and floated by the likes of Steve Young.
But now we have some backlash via a report by draft analyst Charlie Campbell, who spoke to multiple NFL scouts that mentioned character issues related to Wilson that could hurt his draft stock. How bad? The name Johnny Manziel was floated.
“Johnny Manziel comp without the [drugs],” An NFC East scout said via Campbell. “[Wilson] is fun to watch, but is he a 1-year flash in the pan? He’s a backyard baller who is fun to watch.
“Someone will grab him in the first [round]. I doubt he gets to the second [round] because once the third quarterback goes, after Lawrence and Fields, there will be a run on them. [Wilson] has character concerns, rich kid who is an entitled brat – uncle owns Jet Blue -, parents are a pain, not a leader, selfish, and he’s a know-it-all.
“His positives are that he’s super competitive, not to get scared and won’t back down, extremely confident, very smart with keen recall and teammates will play for him.”
Like every report such as this, it should be taken with a grain of salt. If the 49ers are seriously considering drafting Wilson, they will do their own evaluation of his character to determine whether he’s a good fit. Still, this report is an interesting nugget to keep in mind when analyzing why teams might shy away from Wilson come draft time.