Zach Wilson made the decision to enter the NFL Draft on Friday following a stunning junior season that has propelled him to the ranks of the top quarterbacks in the 2021 class.
The BYU star entered the conversation as the potential second quarterback off the board behind Trevor Lawrence when leading the Cougars to an 11-1 record in 2020.
His hopes of being taken after Lawrence may have taken a hit after Ohio State’s Justin Fields ended the presumptive number one overall pick’s likely final season with Clemson.
A six-touchdown effort for the Buckeyes in the College Football Playoff semifinal may have re-established Fields as QB2 behind Lawrence.
But Wilson still has an excellent chance of hearing his name called within the top 10 picks, if not even the top five.
Here are five stats that illustrate just why he deserves his status as one of the elite quarterback prospects in the draft.
COUGAR NATION pic.twitter.com/BLQtiKWygT
— Zachary Wilson (@zachkapono) January 1, 2021
TD-INT ratio: 1st
With 32 passing touchdowns to just three interceptions, Wilson’s touchdown-interception ratio of 10.67 is the best in college football in 2020. Among likely early round picks, Alabama’s Mac Jones is next on the list (9.00).
Completion percentage: 4th
Wilson has displayed deadly accuracy throughout 2020. His ball placement on throws to all levels of the field has been magnificent and that is reflected by his completion percentage.
He completed 73.1 per cent of his passes in 2020. Only three college football players have been superior in that regard, with National Championship quarterbacks Jones (77) and Fields (73.4) among them.
Yards per attempt: 3rd
Aggressive sometimes to a fault, Wilson has no fear in pushing the ball downfield, as revealed by his yards per pass attempt average, which in 2020 was a gaudy 11.04.
With one game in his season, and likely career, at Alabama to go, it is Jones who leads college football in yards per attempt (11.31), though his tally will have been significantly impacted by the skills of Heisman Trophy favourite DeVonta Smith.
Passer rating: 2nd
Wilson’s remarkable season saw him finish with a passer rating of 195.6, ahead of fifth-placed Fields (186.7) and behind only – yes, you guessed it – Jones, whose rating of 203.0 is second since Stats Perform began collecting such data in 1996, only beaten by his Crimson Tide predecessor in Tua Tagovailoa.
Tagovailoa had a passer rating of 206.9 in his 2019 season, one which was curtailed by a serious hip injury.
Rushing TDs among QBs: Tied 4th
An elusive runner who can do damage with his legs as well as his arm, Wilson’s dual-threat ability is reflected by his 10 rushing touchdowns in 2020.
It is an area where he has the edge over less mobile prospects like Jones. Just three quarterbacks scored more touchdowns on the ground this college football season, with Cincinnati’s intriguing prospect Desmond Ridder (12) among them.