Zach Wilson, as the new quarterback in Jets Nation, could theoretically be in line for one of his first endorsement deals, with a telecommunications company and a throwback reboot of a Seventies slogan: "Reach Out and Touch Someone."
He's certainly reached out and touched his new teammates already, especially Round 2 wideout Elijah Moore but any number of other of his fellow rookies.
"I just feel like that connection with your guys is super-important, and there are still more guys I want to reach out to and get to know," he told reporters this morning before his second practice at the rookie minicamp at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center this afternoon. "Elijah's a big one. Both Elijahs, actually, the offensive lineman [fellow first-rounder Alijah Vera-Tucker] and the receiver. That's where that connection starts, making sure we're on the same page, we become friends, and we get to know each other."
And then there are the Jets vets that he has to get to know. But he's not the only one reaching out there.
"They've actually all reached out to me, which was really cool. It shows these guys care, they want to win and they want to do everything they can," he said. "I've even talked to Quinnen Williams, I've heard from the punter [Braden Mann], offensive linemen, [Connor] McGovern. It's been exciting to just get to know all these guys by name and start to find those similarities that we have."
When Wilson took it out to the field with his fellow skill rooks Friday afternoon, he didn't too much to make anyone say "He's the one." But head coach Robert Saleh was calmly impressed.
"Zach did a really nice job," Saleh said. "The ball was in and out of his hands very crisp. He was on rhythm, he was on time, his receivers were running the right routes, and the ball was barely on the ground. So it was a very good first day for him."
That, of course, is Wilson's intent. As the highly motivated young man from the state of Utah and BYU and noted film-room grinder, he's brought his good habits with him across the country but he hasn't put any more pressure on himself to rush the process.
"I think those can kind of be separated a little bit," he said. "I can go in the film room and try to grind and learn the offense as quick as I can, but I don't think I have any extra pressure on myself to do more than I'm supposed to. Simplify my reads, make quick decisions, get the ball out of my hand, and let the playmakers around me make the plays. I really don't have to put more thought into it than that."
And so Wilson has started to work those on-field connections with his new teammates as well, with 7-on-7 throws to Moore and the razor-bladed bowling ball that fourth-round RB Michael Carter can be, while also building his relationship with another young man, 34-year-old offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, plus passing game specialist Greg Knapp, QBs coach Rob Calabrese and the rest of his offensive coaches. That's been fun but so has getting back on the grass and tossing the pigskin around.
"It was a lot of fun to get back to playing ball, meeting some of the guys, just getting used to the differences from college to the NFL," he said of Friday's first practice. "Learning all the new plays, getting used to throwing to different guys, the speed of the game is a little bit different.
... There was a lot of thinking, way more thinking than you typically want to do in football. But that's a day one kind of thing. It's exciting to get on the field, the atmosphere, everything going on — I really love it."
One last thing about Wilson and No. 1. After wearing mostly 1's on his uniform in high school and college — 14 and then 1 the last two seasons at Corner Canyon HS, then 11 and 1 at BYU — he donned the red No. 2 jersey for his first practices with the Jets.
Has Zach decided on a Jets uni number yet? Might he sight-adjust to No. 1 after a while? Not necessarily.
"I'm still deciding, but most likely No. 2," he said. "I'm just mixing it up, doing something new. I like any single-digit number, I think they're cool. I was the second pick, so that's a good reason to switch it up. Not much reason behind it but I just think it's a cool number."
See the Best Photos from Saturday's Practice at Jets Rookie Minicamp