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The Jets Drafting Justin Fields Over Zach Wilson Because He Can 'Handle the New York Media' Would Be Nuts

Kyle Koster
Mar 30, 2021, 9:40 AM EDT
Mark Brown/Getty Images
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Everyone assumes the New York Jets will be selecting Zach Wilson with the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft but unpredictable things happen all the time. Technically, it is still possible for the long-suffering franchise to decided Justin Fields is the better quarterback of the future.

That's the course suggested by Brandon Marshall this morning on FS1's First Things First. Marshall, who played in New York for three seasons, suggested players need to be cut from a certain kind of cloth to handle the intense media and Zach Wilson may not be that type of player because he's been stashed away in Provo for the last three years while Fields has been under the bright lights that both Georgia and Ohio State bring.

Now, there's certainly no doubt that Fields has handled more than his share of pressure and that media coverage has been more squarely focused on the Buckeyes than the Cougars. We know he can handle it. Yet what is to suggest Wilson can't?

New York City is the most vibrant city in the world. Everyone should have the privilege of calling it home for a period of their life. It's is also the most myopic, ridiculously self-obsessed place on the planet. The illusion of delusion of its media being demonstrably more difficult to deal with than the rest of the country becomes more and more specious with each passing day as our interconnectivity allows literally anyone to write about anything from anywhere.

But for the sake of argument let's say it's a real thing.

Sam Darnold played his college ball in Los Angeles, for one of the biggest brands in football. It hasn't gone as well for him as it did for Mark Sanchez, who was also a Trojan and clearly more attracted the camera. Two of the Jets' most productive quarterbacks over the past 40 years, Chad Pennington and Ken O'Brien, went to Marshall and UC-Davis. Not exactly media hotbeds.

Eli Manning won two Super Bowls while playing in New York for the Giants despite coming from Ole Miss. Phil Simms won one and went to Morehead State. Jeff Hostetler went from Penn State to West Virginia and still managed to win it all.

You know who else went to BYU? Steve Young and Jim McMahon. Those guys haven't exactly been shrinking violets.

If the Jets are going to pull the ultimate zag to show how smart they are, they shouldn't do it because of some flimsy argument that may or may not have any real-world impact.

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