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Exactly one week ago, the Jets selected BYU quarterback Zach Wilson with the second overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. For Gang Green, Wilson’s selection was an extremely pivotal moment for the franchise as they look to build off of some down seasons with a new signal-caller.
And while hearing Wilson’s name was a moment Jets fans had been anticipating for a few months, it was a moment that was years in the making for Wilson, and something he’d long been prepared for.
Perhaps no one knows Wilson’s game better than John Beck, a former NFL quarterback who is now a renowned personal quarterbacking coach.
Speaking on the Flight Deck with Rich Cimini podcast, Beck provided some tremendous insight into who Wilson is as a player and a person, with Wilson’s preparation always standing out.
“He’s a football junkie. He loves every opportunity that he has to improve at something,” Beck said of the new Jets quarterback. “He’s extremely dedicated. When I look at the sacrifices that he’s made throughout his life, even before I met him. I had heard a little bit here and there about who he was, but having the chance to meet him, to be around his family, to watch how much it means to him and the things that he was willing to do, I think that speaks volumes about the kind of person he is, because this game is about dedication, it’s about being committed to your craft.
“When you get to the NFL level, there are so many talented people. The way to separate yourself is by the work that you put in, and also how you learn from those experiences. And when I look at Zach, he’s always so willing to work and learn from those experiences, and I think that’s going to give him a great opportunity to lead his football team though playing well.
“There are a lot of people who can have great leadership qualities, but at the end of the day you have to make plays. I don’t care how well you can address your team. You can put in all the hours you want, but you’ve got to make plays on Sunday and Monday nights. That’s what your teammates care about. They want a guy who can do that, and I believe because the things I just used to describe Zach, he will be a guy who makes plays.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic began and many conferences were forced to postpone or cancel their football seasons, Wilson used that extra time to make even more trips to workout with Beck in southern California, a brisk 10-hour drive from Utah.
“Zach … saw it as an opportunity to be out here more. He maximized that opportunity,” Beck said. “For those couple of years leading up to last year, he would come out at every opportunity. If he had like a free weekend or a long weekend, maybe like Friday to Monday off, he was always calling like ‘I want to come out.’
“Well, all of a sudden when that happened where it was potentially a few months where they couldn’t be with their school, he literally set up a schedule to be out here as much as possible. I’ve told this to people before in other interviews that I’ve done, but he trained like a professional going into this season, where everything, the reason he was in California, it was all dedicated to himself and improving as a player.
“Everything that Zach did was geared towards improving as a player so he could have a great season.”
You can listen to Beck’s full interview, in which he also speaks about how he helped the Jets get to know Wilson during the pre-draft process, by clicking here.