Another “Wilson” in the NFC West? Sign us up SF 49ers fans up with BYU’s Zach Wilson!
As the disastrous 2020 season nears its end, it’s no secret the SF 49ers are in serious need of a roster revamp at a number of positions this offseason such as cornerback, safety and the offensive line.
But some would argue their biggest need is at quarterback.
Yes, the Niners will still be able to roll out franchise quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo if they please, but moving on from him will free up more than $24 million in much-needed cap space in a year where the leaguewide salary cap will be decreasing greatly and where the team has a number of important free agents it must lock up long term.
The fact Jimmy G has also been quite injury prone since joining the team in 2017 is making everyone a little uneasy about trusting him with the keys to the franchise moving forward. It’s a little bit worrisome fans have had to watch almost as many games from backup quarterbacks as they have from Garoppolo over the last three seasons.
Let’s predict the SF 49ers move on from Jimmy G at the conclusion of this season and will surely look at the 2021 NFL Draft class to replace him.
Luckily, this year’s crop is filled with a large amount of talented NFL-caliber gunslingers.
Among those players is the guy the Niners should absolutely go after: BYU’s Zach Wilson.
BYU’s Zach Wilson would be a great fit for SF 49ers
Wilson has all the tools of a prototypical modern-day quarterback. He has elite arm strength and can escape pressure with ease, as he’s displayed game after game in the NCAA during the 2020 season. He is the breath of fresh air the SF 49ers need going forward.
The questions everyone may be asking here, though, are the following: “Why should the 49ers target Wilson?” and “Will they have a realistic shot at picking him at their current draft position?”.
Let’s start with the first one. Wilson embodies everything a modern-day quarterback should look like. He has elite arm strength and can pinpoint his receivers with accuracy. More importantly, though, he has the athletic prowess to extend plays with his legs. Examples who come to mind when we think of the perfect modern-day QB would be players such as the Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson, the Buffalo Bills’ Josh Allen and Houston Texans’ Deshaun Watson. They aren’t run-first quarterbacks, but they definitely have the ability to punish opposing teams through the air and on the ground as they so please.
The Niners clearly have a number of roster issues, one being the dramatic decline of the team’s O-line. The team may not be able to bolster their O-line as much as they please during the upcoming offseason, but a quarterback who can actively escape pressure would take some pressure off the front office and allow them to upgrade other parts of their roster instead.
One of the massive issues with the traditional pocket quarterback is their performance can be dramatically affected by a weak pass-protection unit, especially if he doesn’t have the legs to escape sticky situations.
Zach Wilson would definitely give the SF 49ers the ground game dynamic they have sorely missed since the days of Hall of Famer Steve Young.
Now, we have to talk about if the team will even have a shot at Wilson in the 2021 draft. The short answer? Not unless they’re willing to move up in Round 1.
The Niners will probably finish anywhere between pick Nos. 10 or 15 overall, placing them behind teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars, NY Jets, Carolina Panthers, Washington Football Team and Denver Broncos. Each of those teams may be in the market for a new franchise QB and would make it much harder for the Niners to get their guy.
A possibly realistic trade situation would probably include the 49ers’ 2021 first-, second- and third-round picks, as well as their 2022 first- and second-round picks to move up to a top-four pick.
This is probably too tall an order for most fans, as well as the Niners front office, but it would be the necessary price to pay if the team deems Wilson worthy enough. If the SF 49ers decide to risk it and see who falls to them, they may miss out entirely on any of the top five prospects, which would be in a word: disastrous.
It’s becoming more and more likely Wilson will be a surefire top-three quarterback prospect in the upcoming draft class, so it’s definitely a longshot the BYU product would fall all the way to the Niners in the draft unless the team decides to use a combination of draft picks to move up to a higher draft spot. The team would be surely remis if they missed out on snatching a future signal-caller in this year’s draft.