Zach Wilson ready for fresh start with Broncos after ‘bittersweet’ trade from Jets

Zach Wilson’s time with the Jets didn’t quite go as planned.

After being selected with the second overall pick in the 2021 draft, the young quarterback struggled to get acclimated to the pro level, and he ended up being benched on numerous occasions.

After Gang Green traded for Aaron Rodgers last offseason, the hope was that Wilson would be able to sit behind and learn from the future Hall of Famer, however, plans changed just four snaps into the regular season, and he was quickly thrust back into the starting role.

The youngster’s struggles continued, leading to his being relegated to backup duties again, which ended up being the final straw for his time in the Big Apple as the team allowed him to search for a potential trade partner heading into the offseason.

After months of searching, Wilson was finally flipped to the Broncos in exchange for the seventh-round pick ahead of the draft, and he’s expected to compete for their starting job with Jarrett Stidham and rookie first-round pick Bo Nix.

Wilson was in attendance at Denver’s optional OTAs, which kicked off this week and he finally had a chance to reflect on the trade and his new opportunity while speaking with reporters, including Ryan McFadden of the Denver Post.

“There’s bittersweet moments in everything,” he said. “I was grateful for my experiences there and the guys, I miss the guys out there and everything too, but at the same time, a fresh start is good and I’m excited to attack a new challenge.”

Wilson ended his Jets career with 12 wins across 34 appearances. He completed just 57 percent of his passes for 6,293 yards and 23 touchdowns over that span, while throwing 25 interceptions and fumbling the ball 17 times.

While his first three pro seasons were filled with tons of ups and downs, Wilson feels he’s been able to learn a lot along the way.

“You learn the most when things don’t always go the best,” he said. “You bank those reps and you learn from them. Across three years of things being challenging, you’re going to learn a lot of things, so hopefully I can keep carrying those with me.”

As far as his next step in Denver, Wilson is eager for the opportunity to learn from longtime NFL head coach Sean Payton, who helped develop Drew Brees into a 13-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl MVP-winning quarterback.

“He’s done a phenomenal job for as long as I can remember,” the QB said. “I loved watching him and Drew and the efficiency they played with, how consistent it was, how explosive they were. I’m looking forward to learning and growing from him every day.”

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