How a Meaningless Win Lost the Jets Trevor Lawrence and Forced Them to Take Zach Wilson

While not always the case, there can sometimes be a big difference between the No. 1 and No. 2 picks in the NFL Draft. Look no further than Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf for proof of that. Looking for a more recent example? How about Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson?

While both struggled a bit as rookies in 2021, which is to be expected, Lawrence has shown massive improvement in year two and is becoming has become the superstar most believed he would be since his freshman year at Clemson.

Wilson — yeah, not so much. While the BYU product hasn’t quite reached Leaf’s level of disrepute, he’s certainly moving in that direction. While Wilson can’t be faulted for missing the first few games of the 2022 season with an injury, he can be faulted for his mostly-poor play this season and undoubtedly deserves the blame for his even worse attitude.

Benched after refusing to take accountability for his dreadful performance in a Week 11 loss to the Patriots, a game in which he completed just nine of 22 passes for 77 yards, Wilson is only back in the lineup now because Mike White broke a rib.

Simply put, the New York Jets don’t have a bright-looking future with Zach Wilson, which is a shame as they’ve got plenty of other young talent on the roster.

The Jacksonville Jaguars‘ future, on the other hand, is as bright as can be with the way Trevor Lawrence has developed in such a short span. And the scary part is that he’s only going to get better.

What’s wild is that the Jets actually could have had Lawrence instead of Wilson. But a single victory in December 2020 cost them that chance.

How a single win cost the Jets a shot at Trevor Lawrence

Trevor Lawrence during a Jaguars-Cowboys matchup in December 2022
Trevor Lawrence | Courtney Culbreath/Getty Images
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In 2020, the Jaguars and Jets were easily the two worst teams in the NFL. So while other teams fought for division titles and playoff berths and Super Bowls and such, Jacksonville and New York battled for the worst record in the league.

And knowing Trevor Lawrence would be available in the 2021 NFL Draft, fans of both teams were actually rooting for their respective squads to lose. And the Jaguars and Jets certainly lost a lot of football games that year.

But it was a New York victory that changed the course of both franchises.

Heading into Week 16 of the 2020 campaign, Jacksonville and New York were each 1-13. The Jags’ only victory had come in Week 1 against the Indianapolis Colts, and the Jets had just won their first game of the year in Week 15 over the Los Angeles Rams.

The Jaguars did their part in Week 16 to keep themselves in the Lawrence sweepstakes, taking a 41-17 beating at the hands of the Chicago Bears to drop to 1-14.

The Jets, however, did not. Much to the dismay of their faithful fans, Gang Green got the better of the Cleveland Browns and took a 23-16 victory, upping their record to 2-13.

Both teams lost in Week 17, Jacksonville to Indianapolis and New York to New England, giving the Jaguars the top pick in the ’21 draft. The rest, as they say, is history.

And one has to believe at this point that history will only look worse for the New York Jets as the gap between Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson gets bigger and bigger with each passing week.