One week down in his first NFL training camp, Jets WR Garrett Wilson is a little sore. After seven practices including his first three NFL-padded sessions, Wilson and got a rest day Thursday before the Green & White resume on-field work Friday at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center.
"I'm feeling great," Wilson told Caroline Hendershot. "It's such a blessing to be able to come out here and play ball every day. Your body is definitely hurting a little bit. It's a little hot during this time of the year, but I'm just counting my blessings. I'm really excited to play every day."
Wilson, selected No. 10 overall by the Green & White in April's NFL Draft, has been nothing short of impressive early in camp. He is wiry, slippery and explosive, equally adept at gaining separation as he is picking up yards after the catch.
"Physically, he really has all the tools," QB Zach Wilson said of the other Wilson. "So, once he grasps the offense and is able to apply his skillset to it, he's a freak and I really think he really does have everything that he needs. He's going to learn every single day just like the rest of us -- how to run certain routes against certain guys, when you need to put something on something else or when you need to be smooth out of a cut. He's learning every single day."
Wilson is learning and splashing. Last Saturday, he made a diving catch over the middle to corral a Zach Wilson laser and pointed for a first down. On several occasions, he's gotten space and then did damage with yards after the catch. Wilson, who was a standout basketball player at Lake Travis HS in Texas, posted a 36-inch vertical leap in the spring. He's got spring in his legs and the Jets have raved about his catching radius. After lighting it up with C.J. Stroud last season at Ohio State, the receiver is building familiarity with the Jets' Zach Wilson.
"It's kind of been the same way as the offense has been moving," he said. "We've been putting in the time, the reps, and putting in time with each other, off the field and on the field. Even during our offseason time, we did some things so that we could build chemistry. Now that we're in training camp, we're trying to take every single rep like it's a game rep and just keep building on what we already have. The chemistry will just keep on growing from here."
The Jets have a young offensive core that will continue to group up together. While Corey Davis (27) and Braxton Berrios (26) will be counted for their veteran leadership as much as their production, Elijah Moore (22) and Wilson (22) are young guns oozing with potential. Moore, a second-round pick last year out of Ole Miss, had only 9 catches in his first five professional games. Then in Week 7 against Cincinnati, Moore had 6 catches for 67 yards and that started a six-game heater when he totaled 34 catches, 459 receiving yards and 5 receiving TDs.
In 2021, OC Mike LaFleur was in his first year, the system was new for everyone and the QB had never taken an NFL snap. Wilson enters a better situation for a first-year player to make a transition.
"Elijah really didn't have anyone to ask the nuances of questions last year," LaFleur said. "Now Garrett gets to pick off of Elijah and Corey, not just from a 'how do I get stuff done on the field' but also from the schematic standpoint. So, I'm pleased with where he's at. Again, like what I was saying with Elijah, there's more out there for him."
See the Green & White on the field in full pads during week two at training camp.
Moore and Wilson share versatility with both being able to play outside and in the slot, but they provide different skills sets. Moore (5-10, 178) is shorter and more compact, a strong player with great quickness, soft hands and 4.3 speed. Wilson (6-0, 192) has a great burst, possessing what HC Robert Saleh calls "wiggly" action in and out of his breaks plus the ability to win the 50-50 balls and then be a terror in the open field.
"He reminds me of me," Moore said. "A lot of the same things that we did, and we're being asked to do. Whenever I can give him a tip on, not even maybe football related, just maybe how to handle something in the building I always try to do that. He's really picking up on things fast and he's going to be fine."
After Friday's practice, the Jets will hold their annual Green & White practice Saturday at MetLife Stadium. In one week, Wilson will make his NFL preseason debut against the Philadelphia Eagles. The days and reps are precious for the dynamic playmaker who is experiencing a little normal training camp soreness. Come fall, Wilson might be putting the hurt on Jets' opponents.
"Another great day. You have to keep putting them in," he said Thursday. "Being a young dude and not really knowing what to expect, luckily, I have some great vets that I can bounce some thoughts off of them and talk to them and get an idea. You never really know until you're put in that fire, but I just have to have another great practice tomorrow and make sure I come out here ready to work and keep building. I keep saying that, but I feel like that's the thing that keeps resonating with me."