BOSTON (CBS) — The 3-5 Patriots may need a quarterback of the future. And with a pick at the top of the draft — to be used on Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence or Ohio State’s Justin Fields — looking less and less likely, New England will certainly have to look on that second tier of college QBs if they hope to make their find in the draft.
One prime candidate for that role would be BYU’s Zach Wilson. The QB is in the midst of a phenomenal season for the Cougars. He’s completed 75.1 percent of his passes for 2,512 yards (11.4 yards per attempt) while throwing 22 touchdowns and just two interceptions. He’s also rushed for eight touchdowns, and he has a 16-yard reception. Wilson has improved as the season has gone along, too. In the past four games, he’s thrown for 1,271 yards with 14 touchdowns and just one interception.
As a result, the 8-0 Cougars have a top-10 ranking and a top-10 offense in the nation.
That performance has obviously drawn lots of attention, and it’s led to his draft stock skyrocketing. And in an interview on The Zach Gelb Show, Wilson was asked directly on how he would feel if the Patriots were to draft him with a high pick in April’s draft.
“That’s cool,” Wilson said. “If that’s the team that wants me, shoot, I’ll give it everything I have. Even if Cam [Newton] was still there when I went into that situation, what a great quarterback to learn from. What a great guy to sit behind and experience the way that he has experienced the game and learned from all his mistakes and the things that he’s had success with as well. And [Bill] Belichick’s a great coach and they’re gonna be on top again one day.”
— CBS Sports Radio (@CBSSportsRadio) November 12, 2020
Wilson — who entered this season with a modest 23 passing touchdowns and 12 interceptions combined in his freshman and sophomore seasons — spoke about the whirlwind of being mentioned as a top-10 pick.
“Oh no doubt, yeah. It’s weird. I hear guys around me and friends talking about it, and you see it on social media every once in a while when it pops up and someone tags you in whatever it is. You try to avoid it, but honestly it’s cool. It’s what we’ve dreamed of, what every player’s dreamed of, is to see something like that,” Wilson said. “Until it comes into full effect, I’ll really keep grinding every single day to make sure I can do whatever I can to get there. But I really hope that some day I can be in that spot, to get drafted that high.”
Wilson also shared his profound respect for the current Patriots quarterback and the former Patriots quarterback.
“Cam Newton, he’s got a chip on his shoulder. He’s got a ton to prove,” Wilson said. “And I loved what I saw of him the first couple of games. I haven’t watched their past recent games, I know they haven’t been winning like he wants to, but I know he’s a competitor as well and he has a lot to prove about himself and about the Patriots as a team. So I know Cam Newton is probably going to come back and he’s going to find his way as a quarterback again, like he used to be.”
On Tom Brady, Wilson said: “I think Brady’s phenomenal. I think you have to give him so much credit for his career. So many people talk about Belichick and the things that he’s done, and I think it’s there. But I think the competitive spirit is what makes Tom Brady special. That guy just seems like the most competitive guy out there. He gives it everything that he has, and I feel like he relates a lot to Drew Brees, when I was able to meet him. I feel like he just wants to be the best so bad. And really there’s nothing special about him physically, right? So I mean, that’s why he’s not my favorite to watch because there’s really nothing special. But he always gets the job done.”
Obviously, a whole lot has to happen between now and April for this possibility to really come into fruition. But for now, consider Wilson officially on the radar of everybody in New England.