Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has had his five-year anniversary from the moment he was drafted into the NFL. It’s been a joyous five years to watch, including making all 80 possible regular season starts, 12 playoff starts, two Super Bowl starts, one ring, three Pro Bowls, and numerous awards show appearances.
I’m sure Wilson ranks pretty high in Kid’s Choice Awards cameos, but what about on the field? Here’s an update on how Wilson ranks among all QBs since 2012 in a number of categories, and how his totals stack up historically.
Touchdowns - t10th
Wilson’s 127 touchdown passes since 2012 is tied with Matthew Stafford for the 10th-most during that time. NFL leader Drew Brees has thrown 184 TDs since 2012, 19 more than second place Aaron Rodgers, though Rodgers played in six fewer games. Wilson’s 127 TDs is also tied with Matt Ryan for fourth-most ever by a QB through five seasons. Of course, Wilson has also rushed for 13 touchdowns and caught another.
Stafford has thrown 26 more interceptions than Wilson since 2012. Ryan threw 15 more interceptions than Wilson through his first five seasons.
TD% - t4th
If you look just at the frequency of touchdown passes per pass attempts, then Wilson jumps up into a tie with Brees for fourth at 5.6%. Rodgers and Peyton Manning are tied for first at 6.5%, while Tony Romo is third at 5.7%. So two of the top five are retired now, while Brees is getting closer to 40. The next “young guy” on the list is Andrew Luck, at 5%. So Luck has thrown five more touchdowns than Wilson, but does it with much less frequency per attempt.
INT% - 7th
On a minimum of 1,000 attempts since 2012, Wilson’s INT% of 1.97% ranks seventh, behind Tom Brady, Rodgers, Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick, Derek Carr, and Sam Bradford.
There’s two quarterbacks in there who I don’t think are quality starters, and Smith, who is a very underwhelming option at starter. That being said, the very best QBs are 1-2 and that goes along with having a QB who is the total package. Since Wilson also has favorable ranks in most other categories, it’s definitely encouraging to see him limit his interceptions to under 2-percent.
Completion percentage - 11th
Wilson’s completion percentage of 64.71% is just a hair behind Bradford, who is in 10th place. I think Wilson has shown the ability to be an exceptionally accurate passer, especially downfield, but is also inconsistent with his high throws and this is definitely an area where he can improve.
Passer Rating - 4th
Wilson’s passer rating dipped to 99.6 last season after he posted a career-low 92.6. The top three are Manning, Rodgers, and Brees. I believe he’s capable of a 2017 season, with a healthy body and an improved cache of weapons, that puts him back over 100 with room to spare.
Rodgers has a rating of 104.2 since 2012. Some other rankings in rating since 2012:
Carson Palmer, 13th
Cam Newton, 23rd
Eli Manning, 24th
Joe Flacco, 28th
Blake Bortles, 30th
Sacks - 2nd
Wilson has been responsible for a few sacks in his five-year career, but that’s hardly enough to account for the fact that only Ryan Tannehill has been sacked more during that time. Tannehill has been taken down 213 times, compared to 205 for Wilson. By comparison, Eli Manning has also made 80 starts since 2012, and has been sacked 134 times.
Y/A - 1st
Yes, Wilson stands alone atop the leaderboards for yards per attempt. Since entering the NFL, Wilson has averaged 7.98 yards per pass attempt, best in the league. Second-place isn’t even that close and is also retired: P Manning at 7.89 Y/A. Rodgers is only eighth, at 7.65 Y/A. When adjusted for AY/A (taking into account TDs and INTs), Wilson is second at 8.2, behind Rodgers at 8.35.
Historically, it’s hard to make any comparison to what Wilson has done with Y/A through his first five seasons.
Overall, it’s the ninth-best mark ever for a QB through five seasons. However, consider the context: The top player in this category is Sid Luckman, who posted a Y/A of 10.27, but did that from 1939-1943. Era adjustment also applies to other top-8 QBs Otto Graham, Norm Van Brocklin, MIlt Plum, and Johnny Unitas. Unitas also didn’t play during his true rookie season (drafted 1955, began his career in 1956), which applies to modern day QBs Kurt Warner and Tony Romo.
Warner and Romo got a few years between college and actually making their NFL debuts. Wilson went straight from Wisconsin to starting for the Seahawks in Week 1. The only other player ahead of Wilson with no real caveats is surprisingly Boomer Esiason, who had a Y/A of 8.1 through five seasons, inflated by a 9.2 Y/A mark in year five, when the Bengals fell just shy of winning the Super Bowl.
Wins - 2nd
Wilson’s 56 wins rank second behind only Brady, who has managed 59 despite a four-game suspension in 2016.