FLORHAM PARK — Few wide receivers in NFL history have had the type of success that Garrett Wilson enjoyed in his first season with the New York Jets.
Whether it was setting important franchise records in receiving yards or being a consistent voice for an offense that struggled, Wilson’s rookie season left many fans of Gang Green excited for his NFL future. Now with Aaron Rodgers as a part of the organization, and several newcomers along for the ride, Wilson’s skill set is seen as a perfect fit for what the Jets want to do offensively in 2023.
It’s also left some of his new teammates comparing him to some of the other best receivers across the NFL landscape.
“Garrett’s incredible. I see a lot of resemblance between him and Davante (Adams). There’s a lot of things that they do, mannerisms, personalities that resemble each other,” Allen Lazard said after Thursday’s practice.
It’s no surprise that Wilson has been compared to a player of Adam’s caliber. His route-running ability and speed made him a top-10 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. But just because he’s coming off a 1,100-yard season with three different quarterbacks throwing him the ball doesn’t mean that he’s content with his current game.
“Just the consistency of getting off the line. Depending on whatever DB I get on, I get press coverage, I need to get into my route as quick as possible. Going against Sauce and DJ to go up against every day at practice is helping me get there for sure,” Wilson explained. “But this started 3-4 months ago as far as my training in the offseason. It’s cool to see what I worked on in the offseason and see it coming together now.”
Taking the next step into superstar territory is always something that rookie players are looking to accomplish – especially after historic first seasons.
For Wilson to get there though, the Ohio native is turning to another sport for help.
“I play a lot of basketball,” Wilson said. “I verbalized my football stuff when I was a kid into basketball terms. And because of that, you know, I feel like I still gotta go play, still have to spend time with my basketball family. None of us ended up playing, my dad played, but we were supposed to be a basketball family. It just clicks for me better when I’m talking hoops.”
Whether it’s comparing rebounds to high-pointing a jump ball or comparing his releases to playing ISO ball, basketball has been a way for the young receiver to transition his game nicely to the NFL level.
It’s been something that has worked for him for a long time now as well.
“That’s how I grew up during the offseason. It’s familiar for me and it helps me work muscles that I don’t get to touch during the season,” Wilson stated. “Basketball is the one thing where it’s a little different…It’s the one thing that makes me a little different from my peers.”
So long as Wilson continues to find ways to get open, the Jets will be very pleased with his multi-sport background. As his relationship with Rodgers grows even more, the success on the field is expected to turn into victories very soon. Heading into his second camp as an NFL athlete, and with expectations sky-high for the entire franchise, Wilson’s lone goal this season isn’t about setting offensive records but reaching a point that no Jets team has done in over half a century.
“Yeah I ain’t gonna fake it … We want to win the Super Bowl.”
They still may be months away from that, but on Thursday, Wilson and the Jets took their first major step to reach that goal with the start of training camp.
And there’s a long way to go for both sides.