BYU is as relevant as ever in the football world. The team on campus is ranked No. 13 and is 4-0 while former Cougars are making noise all over the NFL in a variety of positions.
Let’s check in on some notable BYU alums in the National Football League.
Zach Wilson, QB, New York Jets
Let’s start with the one most people are talking about. Wilson has a lot to live up to as the No. 2 overall pick of this past spring’s draft. Many worried that him being selected by the Jets would stunt his growth and the organization would not have pieces around him to breed success. So far, those fears have been realized.
The offensive line is the worst in the league. That problem was exacerbated when their talented left tackle Mekhi Becton went down with a knee injury and is now on injured reserve. Receiver Corey Davis has three drops, the second most in the NFL. Certainly, Wilson hasn’t had much help.
That isn’t to say Wilson isn’t partially to blame for the Jets’ hapless 0-3 start. He is dead last in the NFL in passer rating and QBR and is tied for the NFL lead in interceptions. He has shown flashes of why the Jets felt he deserved the second overall pick, scrambling out of the pocket and completing passes while throwing across his body. Through three games, he has totaled 628 passing yards while completing 55.2 percent of his passes.
The fans, as always in New York, are getting restless. It’s very early but it could not have been a worse start for Wilson, much of it not his fault. The Jets take on the Titans at home this Sunday.
Taysom Hill, QB, New Orleans Saints
Saints head coach Sean Payton named Jameis Winston the starter over Hill when the season began, following the retirement of future Hall of Famer Drew Brees. Their season started with a bang, destroying the Packers 38-3, validating Payton’s decision to start Winston. However, Winston has struggled a bit since that opening blowout win.
Meanwhile, Hill continues to do Swiss Army Knife things. The 31-year-old has played at least 10 offensive snaps in each of the first three games. Against the Patriots last week, he logged 33 snaps, which included six rushing attempts for 32 yards and his first touchdown of the season.
While he isn’t the starting quarterback at the moment, expect Hill to continue to get snaps all around the field. There is motivation to have him succeed, since he is making over $7 million this year.
Jamaal Williams, RB, Detroit Lions
The Green Bay Packers bid Williams farewell during the offseason after four seasons. Williams, undeterred by his “ex-girlfriend,” signed with their AFC North rivals, the Detroit Lions. In three games thus far, BYU’s all-time leading rusher has toted the ball 28 times for 121 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He has also caught 13 passes from Lions quarterback Jared Goff for 93 yards.
Ty’Son Williams, RB, Baltimore Ravens
Who would’ve thought Ty’Son Williams would make a list of BYU alums in the NFL? Despite his short career with the Cougars, he became a fan favorite because of his heroics in the wins over Tennessee and USC during his time in Provo. After suffering a devastating knee injury in BYU’s game against Washington, he had a long road to recovery.
The Ravens signed Williams as an undrafted free agent and promoted him from their practice squad at the start of the season. On Monday Night Football against the Las Vegas Raiders, Williams rushed nine times for 65 yards and his first career NFL touchdown. He has 164 rushing yards through three games.
Fred Warner, LB, San Francisco 49ers
For Warner’s standards, it has been a quiet start to the season. Fresh off of his five-year, $95 million extension, expectations are high for Warner coming off of his first Pro Bowl and All-Pro season last year. Through three games in San Francisco, he has 26 tackles with one tackle for loss and one pass defended.
Michael Davis, CB, Los Angeles Chargers
Davis is another player that came out of nowhere to be a solid NFL player. He now enters his fifth season for the Chargers after signing a three-year, $25.2 million extension before the season. This season, he has tallied 12 tackles. Against the Chiefs last week, he recovered two fumbles in one game.