PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 02: Quarterback Russell Wilson #16 of the Wisconsin Badgers looks to pass the ball in the second quarter against the Oregon Ducks at the 98th Rose Bowl Game on January 2, 2012 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
With the 11th pick of the 3rd round, 75th overall, the Seahawks have selected quarterback Russell Wilson, a QB out of Wisconsin. This was a pick that a lot of us thought was a definite possibility and it certainly fits the style of football that the Seahawks want to run. Wisconsin's offense under Wilson was very similar to what the Seahawks ran in 2011, power running to set up play-action, boot action and downfield strikes. Wilson thrived in this system, completing over 70% of his passes while throwing for just under 2,800 yards, with 31 touchdowns, to only three interceptions in his senior campaign.
He's known as a strong leader, he's mobile and athletic, has a strong arm and throws a nice tight spiral. He's got that Bill Walsh "catchable ball," leads his receivers, and protects the football. In so many ways, he's a prototype for what the Seahawks have been looking for in a quarterback, except of course, for his height. At 5'10, 205, he'll immediately become one of, if not the shortest quarterback in the NFL but the Seahawks will attempt to mitigate this by doing many of the things that they did with Tarvaris Jackson last season (once, and if Wilson plays, obviously).
They'll heavily lean on moving pockets, rollouts, bootlegs and the like. He's proven that he can throw from the pocket despite having one of the tallest offensive lines in the country in 2011, even counting the NFL. Still, this is a risky pick, insomuch that Wilson is going to have to beat a lot of odds when it comes to his height to have success in this league.
Russell Wilson is a big fan of Drew Brees (6'0) and studies his game closely. Matt Waldman, a writer whose analysis I respect a great deal, broke down Wilson's game with more detail than anywhere else I saw this offseason, and you can see his two part series - (part one) at The Rookie Scouting Porfolio Blog and (part two) at Football Outsiders. The Football Outsiders piece is particularly interesting in that Walman breaks down how Wilson was used at NC State and how his height could be mitigated similarly to how the Saints do so with Drew Brees in New Orleans. Now, I don't want to come off like saying that Wilson is Brees - right now Wilson is very raw and no where near Brees' level, but naturally when a shorter quarterback has success despite his height deficiency, you look to him as the prototype of how to succeed.
Personally, I like the pick. I think for a 3rd rounder, especially when the Seahawks still have seven picks, it's an acceptable risk, particularly for a guy that some scouts and personnel execs called a 'first round talent' with third or fourth round height. At worst, in my mind, he'll make a capable and confident backup, and for a 3rd round pick, that's a pretty valuable guy to have on your team. It will be interesting.