Zach Wilson states his case with impressive pro day

There was plenty of movement in the 2021 NFL Draft order Friday.

But the biggest moves were made in Utah, even though the guy everyone went there to see didn't do as much as he hoped.

BYU quarterback Zach Wilson stuck to the throwing portion of his pro day workout Friday, saying a recent hamstring tweak kept him from running a 40-yard-dash or doing a vertical leap — though he's reasonably shown how mobile he actually is. He ran for 10 touchdowns last year, but he mostly showed his ability to move in the pocket, to keep plays alive while he looked downfield.

"The game of football is changing, especially the quarterback position," Wilson said. "You want someone who is athletic and mobile in the pocket, and can make all the throws, but also extend and make things from different angles, and different things like that, so it was good to work some of that today."

Wilson wasn't the only one working angles Friday.

During his workout, the 49ers traded three first-rounders to the Dolphins to move up from the 12th overall selection to the third spot in this year's order, and the Dolphins then made a separate deal with the Eagles to move back up to the sixth spot.

(Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer and offensive coordinator Joe Brady were also in attendance at BYU, but picking eighth isn't going to get them Wilson. Both were also at North Dakota State's pro day to see Trey Lance, along with head coach Matt Rhule.)

Of course, any movement for the third pick and beyond doesn't appear to impact Wilson, who most believe is destined to go second overall, behind Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. The Jets currently own that pick (as well as 2018 third-overall pick Sam Darnold).

Wilson wasn't tipping his hand about interactions with the Jets or any other team, but what he did on the field last year made such an impression he can operate with the security of a guy who has a good idea when he's being chosen.

That was far from certain going into last season, but the way he played in 2020 caught everyone's attention.

The 6-foot-2, 214-pound Wilson completed 73.5 percent of his passes for 3,692 yards last year, with 33 touchdowns and just three interceptions. He only lost one game all season, to then-fellow-undefeated Coastal Carolina on the road. Wilson was less than spectacular that night in Conway, S.C. (19-of-30 for 240 yards with a touchdown and an interception).

But he was otherwise spectacular, making the same kind of climb up the boards that LSU quarterback Joe Burrow made in 2019 before the Bengals took him first overall last year. That comparison wasn't lost on Wilson, who said he studied Burrow extensively.

"My junior year last year, he was a huge part of my mental success," Wilson said of the Cincinnati quarterback. "I feel like I have the ability to throw the ball into spots where maybe you think someone is covered but maybe they're really open. I really did a lot of studying of the way he played the game, and I think he really did it all the right way.

"He knew exactly what he was doing on every play, he took what the defense gave him, and he extended plays down the field. So I learned a lot from what he did."

Like Burrow, Wilson also has a certain bearing about him, the kind of overt confidence you see from a distance.

When asked about his 2019 shoulder surgery, he explained that he was fully healthy now, but he wanted to prove it during his pro day:"Now coming out here, it's showing coaches that swag and what you're all about."

"Something I feel like separates me, just my passion for the game," Wilson said. "I really put a lot of time into what I do. Throughout the years, I've really dedicated my life to football. It's crazy, when people try to ask me what I do outside football, you know football is really my life. It's like everything I've got going on.

"(I'm) somebody who can extend plays, somebody that can make things happen outside the offense is what I take a lot of pride in."

And that will likely be good news, for the Jets or whichever team ends picking second overall.

View AP photos from BYU's Pro Day on Friday, featuring quarterback Zach Wilson.

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