Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is good. Some other quarterbacks are good, but many are bad. Here is a comparison of where Wilson was at during the first four seasons of his career to how some other young QBs fared in 2016 when they were at the same stage of their own careers.
Russell Wilson rookie season: 11-5, 252-of-393, 3,118 yards, 26 TD/10 INT, 7.9 Y/A, 100 rating, 872 DYAR, 19.7% DVOA, 77.2 QBR
Playoffs: 1-1, 39-of-62, 572 yards, 3 TD/1 INT, 9.2 Y/A, 102.4 rating
Jared Goff, Rams, 1st overall: 0-7, 112-of-205, 1,089 yards, 5 TD/7 INT, 5.3 Y/A, 63.6 rating, -880 DYAR, -70.2% DVOA, 22.2 QBR
Carson Wentz, Eagles, 2nd overall: 7-9, 379-of-607, 3,782 yards, 16 TD/14 INT, 6.2 Y/A, 79.3 rating, -70 DYAR, -12.9% DVOA, 53.4 QBR
Paxton Lynch, Broncos, 26th overall: 83 pass attempts, not of note.
Dak Prescott, Cowboys, 135th overall: 13-3, 311-of-459, 3,667 yards, 23 TD/4 INT, 8.0 Y/A, 104.9 rating, 1,301 DYAR, 31.5% DVOA, 81.7 QBR
Goff had one of the worst seasons of any quarterback ever, rookie or otherwise. The fact that he was the first overall pick and that the Rams gave up a bunch of selections to get him only further pounds home the reality that LA is so much worse at making football teams than Seattle (or almost any team) is.
While Wilson only got better as his rookie season went on, which pointed towards the possibility that the best was yet to come, Wentz got considerably worse. Over the final 12 games, Wentz had 9 TD/12 INT, 5.88 Y/A, and a rating of 72.3; that ranked Wentz 32nd in the NFL in rating over that period of time, behind players like Cody Kessler, Brian Hoyer, Colin Kaepernick, Blake Bortles, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Robert Griffin III, and Case Keenum.
The only reasonable comp here is Prescott, and for several reasons that go beyond efficient production on a talented team. Both players exhibit poise that rookies should almost legally not be allowed to possess, can run the football, and overcame a low draft status to immediately prove that their worth was much more than anticipated. I am firmly in the camp that Prescott is/will continue to be great, and there’s nothing wrong with that, even if you’re not a Cowboys fan.
Russell Wilson: 13-3, 257-of-407, 3,357 yards, 26 TD/9 INT, 8.2 Y/A, 101.2 rating, 770 DYAR, 15.6% DVOA, 70.4 QBR
Playoffs: 3-0, 43-of-68, 524 yards, 3 TD/0 INT, 7.7 Y/A, 101.6 rating
Through two seasons: 24-8, 63.6% completions, 52 TD/19 INT, 8.1 Y/A, 100.6 rating, 4-1 in playoffs
2016 second-year players:
Jameis Winston, 1st overall, Bucs: 9-7, 345-of-567, 4,090 yards, 28 TD/18 INT, 7.2 Y/A, 86.1 rating, 560 DYAR, 3.7% DVOA, 64.9 QBR
Through two seasons: 15-17, 59.6% completions, 50 TD/33 INT, 7.4 Y/A, 85.2 rating
Marcus Mariota, 2nd overall, Titans: 8-7, 276-of-451, 3,426 yards, 26 TD/9 INT, 7.6 Y/A, 95.6 rating, 626 DYAR, 9.3% DVOA, 64.9 QBR
Through two seasons: 11-16, 61.6% completions, 45 TD/19 INT, 7.6 Y/A, 93.8 rating
Trevor Siemian, 250th overall, Broncos: 8-6, 289-of-486, 3,401 yards, 18 TD/10 INT, 7.0 Y/A, 84.6 rating, 127 DYAR, -7.3% DVOA, 55.5 QBR
Winston and Mariota both look well on-schedule to be franchise quarterbacks, which the top two picks of last year have yet to really prove. Tampa Bay and Tennessee have quickly turned around into playoff contenders for 2017 and their QBs posted identical 64.9 QBRs in year two. Wilson comes out on top in year two in most every category.
Especially in the category of playoff appearances at this point — 2 — which has yet to occur for Goff, Wentz, Winston, and Mariota. Siemian has overachieved his round seven status, but may have hit the ceiling with his 14 starts last season.
Russell Wilson year three: 12-4, 285-of-452, 3,475 yards, 20 TD/7 INT, 7.7 Y/A, 95 rating, 503 DYAR, 5.5% DVOA, 72.7 QBR
Playoffs: 2-1, 41-of-72, 724 yards, 6 TD/5 INT, 10.1 Y/A, 90.3 rating
Through three seasons: 36-12, 63.4% completions, 72 TD/26 INT, 7.9 Y/A, 98.6 rating, 6-2 in playoffs
2016 third-year players
Blake Bortles, 3rd overall, Jaguars: 3-13, 368-of-625, 3,905 yards, 23 TD/16 INT, 6.2 Y/A, 78.8 rating, 55 DYAR, -9.9% DVOA, 49 QBR
Through three seasons: 11-34, 58.8% completions, 69 TD/51 INT, 6.6 Y/A, 79.6 rating
Johnny Manziel, 22nd overall, Browns/FA: Did not play.
Through three seasons: 2-6, 57% completions, 7 TD/7 INT, 6.5 Y/A, 74.4 rating
Teddy Bridgewater, 32nd overall, Vikings: Did not play.
Through three seasons: 17-11, 64.9% completions, 28 TD/21 INT, 7.2 Y/A, 87 rating
Derek Carr, 36th overall, Raiders: 12-3, 357-of-560, 3,937 yards, 28 TD/6 INT, 7.0 Y/A, 96.7 rating, 1,169 DYAR, 19.9% DVOA, 61.8 QBR
Through three seasons: 22-25, 60.9% completions, 81 TD/31 INT, 6.5 Y/A, 87.9 rating
It’s worth noting how much touchdown passes alone don’t matter. Through three seasons, Bortles had nearly the same number of TDs as Wilson, but with twice as many interceptions, much fewer Y/A, no dual-threat ability, and a lower completion percentage. That was not the only reason for Bortles’ 34 losses as a starter, but it’s a huge part of it.
Carr is now the highest-paid player in the NFL. Look at those numbers, compare them to a QB who had won a Super Bowl and nearly another at the same stage in his career, with six playoff wins, two Pro Bowls, and numerous league records. Carr makes about $3 million more/season than Wilson post-second contracts, which would be fair (given inflation and a rising cap) if the two players were equal, but I can’t say that’s even close to being the case yet.
There is no QB in the 2014 class worth mentioning, outside of mentioning that EJ Manuel, Geno Smith, and Mike Glennon in fact exist.
Meanwhile (and this is for Carr to take note of I guess), Wilson had a career-year in 2015: 329-of-483, 4,024 yards, 34 TD/8 INT, 8.3 Y/A, 110.1 rating, 1,190 DYAR, 24.3% DVOA, 72.2 QBR
Through four seasons: 46*-18, 64.7% completions, 106^ TD/34 INT, 8.1! Y/A, 101.8 rating$
*NFL record through four seasons
^third-most through four seasons
!sixth-best through four seasons
$second-best through four seasons