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What does Zach Wilson need most to succeed early in his NFL career?

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BYU quarterback Zach Wilson (1) delivers a pass as BYU and Boise State play a college football game at Albertsons Stadium in Boise on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

While quarterbacks almost always are the most sought-after position group at the top of the NFL draft, it goes without saying that those signal-callers still need other good players around them in order to be successful.

Later this month, a whopping five quarterbacks (Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, Mac Jones, Trey Lance) are expected to hear their names called in the first round of the draft, and most of them, if not all, should be off the board early in the round. But what does each of them need most in terms of a supporting cast to maximize their potential?

On Monday, ESPN’s Bill Connelly examined that question, identifying potential weaknesses each of quarterback could have and what is needed in their supporting cast to try to mitigate that weakness.

For BYU’s Wilson, who is widely expected to be taken No. 2 overall by the New York Jets (behind Lawrence at the top spot to the Jacksonville Jaguars), Connelly wrote that a pair of good offensive tackles will be the most important thing in a supporting cast.

That might seem like an obvious thing for any quarterback, but Connelly noted how Wilson had more time than any of the other quarterbacks listed above to get throws off last season (Lance was not included in this, as he only played in one game in 2020). Unsurprisingly, Connelly observed that Wilson had less success the more he was pressured.

“This isn’t a definitive weakness so much as an area where Wilson will have to further adjust, but landing on a team with pass blocking that can last an extra beat might help him most of any top prospect,” Connelly wrote.

Of course, Connelly observed that none of the teams with top picks have offensive lines that were very good last season — “it’s why they’ve got top picks.”

For Lawrence, Connelly identified “help in man coverage” as the biggest need. For Fields, it’s “a playcaller who uses the entire field.” For Lance it’s “a redshirt,” and for Jones it’s “a star receiver between the numbers.”