Zach Wilson has not yet played a regular-season NFL down, but Tony Romo sees potential greatness in the Jets’ rookie quarterback.
"I actually think Zach Wilson with the Jets is going to turn that franchise around," the CBS analyst said on a video call with reporters on Wednesday to promote the network’s NFL coverage.
Romo also praised the hiring of coach Robert Saleh, then returned to Wilson, saying, "I think Zach Wilson is going to be in the discussion as one of the top three to five quarterbacks [in the league] very quickly. Within the next couple of years I think you're going to see him rise. I think he's unbelievable. His ceiling is so high.
"It's rare for me to say someone has the ability to get in the stratosphere of a [Patrick] Mahomes, but I think this kid actually has that ability. So when you have a quarterback like that, I think there's no telling how good you can be. He can make up for a lot of weaknesses in a lot of areas for a football team.
"I understand they haven't had the ability and the talent of some of these other teams they’ve gone against, but they’ll make up for a lot of that, and fast. We'll see how quickly he can do that, because the division is going to get tougher and tougher."
Romo said Wilson is part of an unusually large group of talented quarterbacks entering 2021. He said he can name 18 to 20 teams with quarterbacks capable of winning a Super Bowl.
"Usually I wouldn't be able to get to 10," he said. "This is probably the deepest I've seen in the National Football League as far as quarterback play, so I think it's going to be a great season."
One caveat for Jets fans: Romo also was extremely high on Sam Darnold before Darnold’s rookie season in 2018. He now plays for the Panthers, the Jets’ Week 1 opponent.
About an hour after Romo praised Wilson on the CBS call, NBC analyst Cris Collinsworth weighed in on another preview call and offered more of the same – this time invoking another NFL superstar.
"Zach Wilson so far in preseason has been fantastic," Collinsworth said. "He was exactly what we saw coming out. There was a concern that at BYU the offensive line was so good that he was never under pressure, and we didn't see what he was going to face in the National Football League – and to be honest in preseason we still haven't seen what he's going to face in the National Football League.
"But he has some ‘it’ factor. It's ridiculous to compare him to anybody, but you can’t help but think Aaron Rogers when you watch him on tape. I mean, that's just his style of play. And that works pretty damn well."