SALT LAK CITY, Utah – If one asked any NFL Draft pundit a year ago about BYU quarterback Zach Wilson, none would say he would be the No. 2 overall pick and a first-round selection.
Most would have likely recommended at least another year in college.
Fast forward to one year later – literally the world is a much different place and Wilson is heading to New York City as a member of the New York Jets after being taken No. 2 overall.
A lot of work went into Wilson’s meteoric rise from a guy with potential to being the de-facto savior for the Jets. There were the references during games this season about Wilson driving to California for the weekend to be with former Cougar QB great John Beck.
It also helped that BYU was able to play a complete season last year when others couldn’t, and he took full advantage, showing off his skills. Even against lesser competition, Wilson stood up and made plays that wowed NFL higher ups.
Coach Roderick On What Changed
BYU offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick joined KSL’s UnRivaled live from the NFL Draft to give his thoughts on his former quarterback. Over the past few years, Roderick was the passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach and worked very closely with Wilson and helped him progress to the player he is now.
Roderick explained what made Wilson so much better from 2019 to 2020 and all it had to do was to be better from years past. Pretty simple but it was just learning from mistakes and just being healthy.
“I think it was a couple of things, the first thing was his sophomore year, he wasn’t healthy and he played injured,” Roderick said. “He had a shoulder that wasn’t right. He came back from surgery, too. It just wasn’t right yet and then breaks his hand in the middle of the season, has pins in his hand, and only misses a couple of games.”
Roderick added, “I think we have to allow for quarterbacks to grow and make some mistakes and that was always a guy who wasn’t afraid to try anything. He was also really good at learning from his mistakes. So I thought I think what you saw this year was a healthy guy who had also learned a lot of football in his first two years in college.”
Roderick finished by saying, “Then the game just really came together for him and slowed down. The other part of it was he had a lot of good players around him this year. We were executing at a much higher level as a team than we were his first two years.”
Sometimes for players all it takes is a little bit more to click to figure things out. For Wilson, it was a combination of being healthy, working with a professional coach with Beck, and soaking in everything and continuing to learn from his coaches.
The next step will not be easy going to the NFL and specifically to a Jets team that picked No. 2 for a reason. Wilson will have to keep learning from his mistakes as Roderick said and that can lead to success at the next level.