Zach Wilson and Aaron Rodgers are both quarterbacks who wear green, but they're far from the same breed. The NFL zeitgeist is pushing Zach Wilson into the Aaron Rodgers bracket based on his preseason showings so far. However, here's why NFL fans need to cool their jets (pun intended) on these comparisons.
Zach Wilson, Aaron Rodgers and a cooling-off period
#1 - Wilson is a rookie
Aaron Rodgers did not become "Aaron Rodgers" until his second or third year as a starter in the NFL. Zach Wilson, meanwhile, is a rookie.
Even if he is fated to become the next "Aaron Rodgers," the transformation is still years away for the young Jets quarterback. Three years from now, when Zach Wilson has dragged his team to the playoffs with his arm, the comparisons will be appropriate.
Until then, Wilson is just an exciting rookie with a solid start to his preseason. If the NFL zeitgeist jumps the gun and annoints him as the next great quarterback too soon, they run the risk of grand disappointment if he fails.
#2 - No NFL experience
Wilson has had a solid start to his career, which is still in its infancy. He has not even played a live down in a regular season game. He first needs to show he can win regular season games.
Next, he needs to show he can win games in tight moments. After that, Wilson will need to show he can win a playoff game. These are the basic prerequisites to get into the same neighborhood, or rather, the same zip code as Aaron Rodgers.
#3 - Aaron Rodgers sat for three years
If there is a spectrum of quarterback development that runs the gamut from sitting quarterbacks for multiple years to playing them in Week One, Aaron Rodgers and Zach Wilson are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Rodgers sat for three years while Zach Wilson will be thrown into the fire in the first game of the year. This usually creates substantially different trajectories for quarterbacks.
Quarterbacks who sit for a long time tend to come out more prepared in their first starts than rookies who are simply thrown into the mix.
By setting Wilson up much differently than Rodgers, the trajectories of their careers will be quite different, especially when comparing the first five years.