PROVO — BYU held Pro Day for the first time in two years Friday morning in the Indoor Practice Facility, attracting scouts, coaches and general managers from 31 of the NFL’s 32 teams to watch the “underwear Olympics” of 20 potential NFL players from the past two seasons of BYU hopefuls.
Only the LA Rams, who have a policy of not traveling to on-campus pro days during the pandemic, did not attend.
But between those who were in attendance and others watching online via BYUtv, the NFL Network and cut-ins from ESPN, one thing was clear: Zach Wilson is very good.
“Text from an NFL scout who was at the BYU pro day: Draft starts at 3,” tweeted The Athletic’s NFL writer Dane Brugler as Pro Day wrapped up. “Wilson going 2.”
Projected by most NFL Draft mock scouts, including ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay, to go to the New York Jets at No. 2 overall, Wilson put on a show in his first formal post-BYU performance.
The Corner Canyon product was measured at 6-foot-2 and 214 pounds, and he didn’t perform in the 40-yard dash or any other drills — in large part because of a tweaked hamstring he suffered in the lead up to Pro Day.
But he did put on a show.
“The things I saw him throw and do on the field, I had already seen,” said NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah during a conference call with local media following Pro Day. “The only curiosity was how big is he, and then the hurdle that remains is to make sure he’s there physically.”
Watch every throw from Zach Wilson’s pro day experience at BYU, which was televised Friday by the NFL Network, ESPN and BYUtv here, or watch on the NFL’s YouTube channel.
Jeremiah has been high on Wilson’s draft projection for a while, and nothing he saw in Provo made him doubt his previous work. Wilson is the complete package, and the throws he made Friday only solidified his case as a top-five pick — perhaps even the second-best quarterback in the draft behind Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, who is all but unanimously projected to go No. 1 overall to Urban Meyer and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Even in that regard, the Jags sent offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell to Provo for BYU’s Pro Day. But that may be about saving face for the franchise which has sent Wilson a copy of its rookie playbook to study and respond to via several interviews over Zoom (Bevell, who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also has family in Utah County).
Even the holders of the top pick want to do their homework on Wilson, who would be the highest NFL draft pick in BYU history if the Jets take him at No. 2.
— NFL (@NFL) March 26, 2021
Some of the throws he made explain why, Jeremiah said. Take one, for example, where Wilson rolled out of the imaginary pocket to his left, then hurled a back-shoulder dime to former BYU wide receiver Aleva Hifo down the middle of the field that drew applause from the limited-capacity crowd in the IPF.
“There were several ridiculous throws he made, but all of his body and momentum was floating and drifting left,” Jeremiah said. “To be able to get over the top and going back right, deep down the field … it’s just incredibly hard. Rolling right and throwing left is tricky, but when you throw it all the way back to the right, it’s a whole other difficulty.
“To be able to pull that off is pretty unique.”