When the TV cameras zoom in on New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson on Sunday, standing on the sideline as a healthy scratch against the Chicago Bears following his benching for backup Mike White, it will likely look like the scene from a movie where the main character breaks the fourth wall and says, "You might be wondering how I got here."

His Broadway story started with high hopes that have slowly faded in his second NFL season as it became clear that Wilson, the second-overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, was the anchor holding back a 6-4 Jets team. Off to its best 10-game start since its last playoff season in 2010, the team is desperate to snap its 11-season playoff drought, the longest active streak in the NFL and the longest playoff drought in franchise history.

Here's a look at Wilson's rise, fall, and what could be next for the second-year quarterback.

Breakout junior year at BYU

Wilson had a ho-hum first two seasons at BYU in 2018 and 2019, combining to throw 23 touchdowns and 12 interceptions with 3,960 passing yards on a completion percentage of 63.7%. Then came his meteoric rise in 2020, his junior year: He threw for 3,692 passing yards (third-most in the FBS) and 33 touchdown passes (third-most in the FBS), totaling the best touchdown-to-interception ration in the country at 10:1 (33-3) on the second-best completion percentage (73.5%) and second-best passer efficiency rating (196.4) in the nation. Wilson's prolific numbers translated into team success, too, with BYU going 11-1 and finishing 11th in the final Associated Press Top 25 poll.


Breathtaking pro day

He then wowed the NFL world during the pre-draft process, adding to his growing hype with his completion of a 60-yard, cross-body throw where he flipped his hips and launched a tight spiral perfectly to his receiver at BYU's Pro Day. 


2021 NFL Draft day

The Jets bought into the stellar junior season and selected Wilson second overall in 2021, making him the fourth top-five selected quarterback in franchise history, putting him on a list with Hall of Famer Joe Namath (first-overall pick in the 1965 AFL Draft), Mark Sanchez (fifth overall in 2009) and Sam Darnold (third overall in 2018). The selection of Wilson second overall just three years after Darnold went third marked the shortest span by any team between selecting passers in the top three in the Common Draft Era (since 1967) and highlighted the Jets' thirst to find their face-of-the-franchise quarterback.