What were the Jets going to do in terms of adding a wide receiver to their offense to help second-year QB Zack Wilson? They answered that question by selecting Ohio State wideout Garrett Wilson, the first WR selected at tonight's 2022 NFL Draft being staged in Las Vegas.
Here are five facts about the Jets' first Round 1 wide receiver since Santana Moss out of Miami in 2001 and the highest WR taken since Keyshawn Johnson arrived No. 1 overall in 1996.
North and South ... and North
Wilson seemed destined early on to attend and star at The Ohio State University. He grew up in Dublin, OH, a suburb of OSU's hometown of Columbus, and won multiple youth football titles as a QB while also starring on the AAU circuit in his favorite, at the time, sport of basketball.
Then in sixth grade, the Wilson family moved to Austin, TX, where he attended Lake Travis HS, which draftniks will recall was also the school that produced QB Baker Mayfield. All he did in the football-mad Lone Star State as a junior was to produce 98 catches for 1,774 yards, score 32 touchdowns, 26 of them on receptions, and get named the 2017-18 Central Texas Athlete of the Year.
Did any schools in Texas or the Southwest catch Wilson's interest? Yes — after all, he received more than 30 offers to major colleges — but he knew where he was going: back north. He didn't play basketball as a Lake Travis senior because he enrolled early at Ohio State.
A Star On and Off
Growing up, Wilson displayed his outstanding qualities not only on the field but off it. As a Lake Travis senior, when he still posted decent numbers despite sitting out six games with a back injury, Garrett also was named the All-American Bowl Man of the Year for his "excellence in community service, education and athletic distinction." He celebrated not only when receiving the award at the game's awards show but then the next day by grabbing two touchdown receptions in the All-American Bowl at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
Wilson Family Values
Wilson is his own man, of course, but he also got some of his athletic chops from his bloodlines. Kenny Wilson, his dad, played collegiate basketball at Davidson from 1981-84. Kenny is in the school's hall of fame, ranked seventh in Davidson history with 1,573 career points, and played briefly with the NBA's Denver Nuggets.
Garrett, who was also a Division I basketball recruit out of high school, credits hoops for helping him develop the route athleticism and fluidity in and out of breaks that makes him a three-level threat on the football field.
As for his siblings, one older brother, Cameron played WR at Iowa in 2012-13 and Ohio in 2014 before legal troubles, and another older bro, Donovan, played RB at Bowling Green from 2013-17.
Wilson has very good speed, although his 4.38-second time in the 40 was only the seventh-fastest among WRs at this year's NFL Combine. He's not known for a lot of home run balls.
But the Garrett YAC attack gives him the chance to take short passes to the house. His yards-after-catch afterburners helped him to a distinction for the Buckeyes despite their crowded WR room — he was one of only six FBS wideouts to average more than 95.0 receiving yards and 1.0 touchdown per game in 2021. For distinctions like that, the Buckeyes have referred to him as "one of the finest receivers in school history."
RotoBaller's Crystal Ball
Here's a nice predraft summation of Wilson's intriguing skills, plus a pretty good prediction for where he would land in the NFL, from rotoballer.com:
"NFL analyst Jordan Schultz did some polling on Ohio State wide receiver Garrett Wilson. He [talked with] three general managers, a head coach and a director of scouting. All five believed Wilson has superstar abilities, particularly praising his YAC potential and his ability to snag 50/50 balls.
"Wilson projects to be one of the first receivers off the board on Thursday. He could be a target of the New York Jets at No. 10 or we could see him land with the Washington Commanders or Philadelphia Eagles slightly later."