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Russell Wilson, NFL draft prospect: The complete history of Wilson's run from Rose Bowl to draft day

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Take a look at Wilson as a draft prospect again and what do you see? The perfect player... except for that one thing. Is this the guy that should be backing up Matt Flynn?!

Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

I wrote the majority of this article on Wednesday when there was no news about Russell Wilson. It was just another filler day in the NFL until the schedule would be released in the evening. And then all of a sudden, some non-football news broke, along with a million potential hearts.

This is a post about Wilson's journey through the pre-draft process. It was meant, at times, to be written as if it was happening in real time. It'll go in and out of that, partly due to the fact that Wilson married his girlfriend Ashton in January of 2012, just as he was preparing for the NFL Scouting Combine. Wilson's personal life leaked into his professional life, and honestly it always has.

From his trips to the hospital, to the set of Entourage, to joining the broadcast booth at the Super Bowl in his first season, Wilson's not just a football player; he's a celebrity. And such, people love celebrity gossip.

But this post is much more about Wilson the Football Player. From his days at NC State, becoming the first freshman in ACC history to be named to the first-team as a quarterback, to breaking the NCAA record for consecutive attempts without an interception, to his transfer to Wisconsin and Rose Bowl appearance, to the Senior Bowl, Combine, and Pro Day, this post tracks everything that was "Russell Wilson the Football Prospect."

For all intents and purposes, Wilson is the perfect quarterback prospect with only one exception: He falls well short of average in a single category. This was something that Wilson naturally could never overcome unless a birth certificate had emerged showing Wilson was actually only 13-years-old. And then all of a sudden at his pro day, he somehow did overcome it.

A little bit.

Every draft profile you read on Wilson will come with the same caveat. Some will also say that he's inaccurate and inconsistent on deep passes. You won't find much else negative about this prospect, but his one negative is a pretty big one when it comes to playing quarterback at the next level.

So, you look over the evidence for yourself. The question becomes: Should the Seahawks actually draft this guy? They already have a backup QB.

Here's an in-depth and thorough examination of Russell Wilson, NFL Draft Prospect:

We do need some stinkin' Badges (Wilson's senior season)

After transferring from NC State to Wisconsin with one year of eligibility remaining, Wilson quickly assumed the lead for a team of players that wouldn't have known him from Adam before the season. Can you imagine how much a team bonds over three or four years of playing together, and then "Sunshine" comes in and declared himself quarterback before every playing a game with these guys?

The Badgers named him captain of the offense.

Wilson was 225-of-309, 72.8% completions, 3,175 yards, 33 touchdowns, four interceptions, 338 rushing yards, and six more touchdowns in total that season. He broke the NCAA record for passing efficiency as well. Wisconsin lost two games that year:

Down 31-17 with eight minutes left at Michigan State, Wilson ran in a score and threw another to tie the game at 31 with 1:26 remaining. Kirk Cousins threw a 44-yard Hail Mary with no time left on the clock, it was caught on a deflection, and the receiver (Keith Nichols) was ruled short of the end zone. On review, it was overturned.

The next game, down 26-14 at Ohio State, Wilson threw two touchdowns to Jared Abbrederis over 2:30 of game time to give the Badgers a three-point lead with 1:18 remaining. They failed to stop the Buckeyes from scoring on a 40-yard touchdown to Devin Smith.

Just to recap Wilson's senior season: He balled, the team nearly went undefeated, he led his team to two incredible comebacks, the defense couldn't hold. Still, Wisconsin went to the Rose Bowl against Oregon.

Bowled Over

Wilson was 19-of-25 for 296 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception, with a four-yard touchdown run. He gave the Badgers a 38-35 lead with 4:44 left in the third quarter. Oregon took a 45-38 lead late in the fourth, but Wilson drove Wisconsin down into Ducks territory with just over four minutes remaining by hitting Abbrederis on a 29-yard pass. Unfortunately the ball was popped out and fumbled back to Oregon.

Wisconsin got the ball back at their own 13 with 16 seconds left and miraculously Wilson hit two quick, deep passes to make it to the Oregon 25 with what appeared to be one or two seconds left when the ball was spiked. However, the refs ruled the game over and that was the end of Wilson's college career.

Pre-draft Process

Senior Discounted (Senior Bowl)

Russell Wilson and Kellen Moore: Two tiny little itsy bitsy peas in a pod

Not only did Wilson struggle on Day 1 of the Senior Bowl practices, but so did Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore. And they are the exact same player pretty much, right? Because they both had excellent college careers and are roughly the same height, the two seem indistinguishable. Literally nothing else goes into player evaluation.

It was right here on SB Nation Denver (don't worry, regional sites are now defunct and so I'm not offending anyone at SB Nation, maybe?) that it was pointed out that they both a bad start to Senior Bowl week. What you actually find in the article that's linked in that article is Alfie Crow (Big Cat Country, friend of Field Gulls) writing pretty much one sentence about Wilson:

Wilson however, struggled on his passes deep down the field.

Crow wrote a post titled "Senior Bowl practice report" and then wrote that one sentence, also noting that he and Moore didn't distinguish themselves from Kirk Cousins. What that became instead was a post entitled: "Wilson and Moore struggle on Day 1."


Wilson steals Day 2! (But isn't an NFL passer like Brandon Weeden)

As you all know, the only thing that matters is "What have you done for me lately" "What are you doing for me right now" "Why haven't you won me a Super Bowl yet, you piece of shit."

Wilson "struggled" on Day 1 and was going straight to the UDFA unemployment line after the draft. How long would it take for him to regain his stock, if ever? How about... a day. posted this video after Day 2 of Senior Bowl week, with John Crist noting that the South squad would have the NFL quarterbacks (Weeden, Nick Foles) because they "looked like" NFL passers, while the North squad quarterbacks "don't have the height, don't have the arm strength" and were cute in college but would be nothing more than backups in the NFL. (Again, this is Wilson, Cousins, Moore.)

"I think Cousins might have taken a step back, but Russell Wilson was the best of the three today."

Again, this is a day of practice one day after a different day of practice.

"(Wilson) is not a legitimate NFL prospect."

"He's got a little money in his pocket, which helps."

"He can play in the NFL, but I don't see a team drafting him and making him a quarterback of the future."

So to summarize: Wilson is not a legitimate NFL prospect but he can play in the NFL, don't draft him but do consider him the type that can play in the NFL. Also, he was drafted into baseball so he's rich so he doesn't give a fudge. The most important thing though is that this illegitimate QB prospect has the poise to play in the NFL, just don't draft him or put him on your team.

At least it's an improvement from Day 1. Wilson has grown a lot from Day 1 to Day 2, just not in the one area that matters.

Wilson on the rise- No, no, no, Hold onto me Russell!!!!

/slips out of my hand faster than that girl in Cliffhanger

Day 3 Risers and Fallers, from the NYTimes:

QB Russell Wilson, Wisconsin: Wilson is a superb athlete, but he is very inconsistent as a passer. He is shorter than Kellen Moore, and several of his passes tend to sail high. Those passes will turn into interceptions at the next level. When he’s rolling out, his accuracy also leaves a lot to be desired.

Ah, the old throw-in-a-compliment-before-you-tear-him-apart switchareedoodah!

Reading is Fun-damental!

And then out of nowhere, a compliment.

Eric Galko of Optimum Scouting has spent Day 2 and Day 3 at the Senior Bowl practices, and even keeping track of some numbers. Rather than just give you "completions" and "yards" though, Galko tracks how many reads a QB makes off of the snap and whether it was the correct read or not. At least one scouting report had listed a negative for Wilson as: "locks onto one receiver."

But Galko said that Wilson not only made the most reads/snap of any QB at those two days of practice (1.9) but that he also made the right decision 70% of the time, better than anyone else:

Well, as I watched the film, Russell Wilson had a fantastic week, placing the ball well, scanning the field, using his eyes to move safties/cornerbacks, and overall showed some great field awareness.

Maybe this Galko is onto something...

Second in this category was Brandon Weeden, while Nick Foles was dead last. So... maybe not.

Trouble with the Curve

In this interview during Senior Bowl practice, Wilson talks about why he chose football over baseball (couldn't hit a baseball) and what it really means to be shorter than most quarterback prospects:

"If the only thing they can crack on me is the height, then I'm alright."

And that seems pretty tight.

He's not someone I'd fight.

Michael Jackson was black and white.

Wilson's receivers are probably out of sight.

Let's get back to what really matters though: Practice.

I guess we are supposed to assume a 5-point scale?

Adam Caplan at The Sideline View gave out grades to the North QBs for their Tuesday performance. Cousins got near-perfect(?) scores, while Wilson was clearly a step(?) behind:

Arm Strength: 3.5

Comments: Despite his diminutive size, Wilson can actually throw the ball with power. Where he struggled a bit was with throws down field. His release and arm action is slightly similar to former NFL QB Rohan Davey.

Accuracy: 3.75

Comments: What I liked about Wilson is his poise in the pocket. He never seemed rushed throughout the practice session. And because of that, he threw mostly with pretty good accuracy. He did struggle a bit with accuracy on deeper throws.

Mechanics/Pocket Awareness: 3.75

Comments: Wilson sets up with a nice base and is able to make a variety of throws. He throws with good balance and has a sense of what’s going on around him.

This is another example of Wilson's inaccuracy on the deep pass being noted at the Senior Bowl. In one day of practice with receivers he's probably never worked with before, on possibly only a handful of attempts, Wilson was pretty shitty though. What a loser.

On 309 attempts in actual games as a senior at Wisconsin with the tallest offensive line in football and playing in the Big 10, Wilson completed 72.8% of his attempts with 10.3 yards per attempt. His lowest completion percentage in any one game that season was 62.5%, when he was 20-of-32 against Ohio State for 253 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Against Minnesota, he was 16-of-17 for 178 yards and four touchdowns.

As Allen Iverson's twin Alvin Iverson would say:

"We're talking about the game? The game? Not practice. Not practice. We're not talkin' about practice, when things really matter. But the GAME?! We're talking about the game?! Not practice. The game?!"

"What do you like to do with your free time?" is possibly the only question that Wilson can't answer

"Watch games."

Is there a draft in here? (No.)

Though Wilson noted that if height was his only issue, he'd be aight, he was cracked on his height, and he was cracked hard. In fact, The Sporting News made Wilson their headliner on January 27, 2012, when they wrote about the players that had a bad week at the Senior Bowl practices.

After a great senior season in which he led Wisconsin to the Rose Bowl, Wilson did not fare as well at the Senior Bowl. It started off badly when he measured under 5-11, and then he struggled with accuracy throughout the week. He showed good mechanics to get rid of the ball quickly and a very strong arm to make every NFL throw without a problem. However, teams can’t ignore his height and lack of consistency as a pocket passer. He likely won’t be drafted because his performance this week showed that he will be, at best, a backup quarterback in the NFL.

Dumb-dumb Wilson made a huge mistake at the Senior Bowl when he... was measured. Up until that time, everyone assumed that Wilson was 6'5 because of how "tall" he played at NC State and Wisconsin, but it turns out that he's not only short, he's also a phony.


The Sporting News is ready to declare that Wilson is undraftable at this point.

Game Day

Wilson gets the start

So it's determined that Wilson will start over Moore and Cousins for the North team. I can't imagine this really means anything, because everyone is going to get about equal playing time, but it is interesting that he did get the start when certain publications insisted he had a terrible week by being short like a jerk. But it's Senior Bowl so this isn't about winning or losing, it's not a game, you guys.

Wilson was 4/7 for 45 yards, one touchdown, one interception in the Senior Bowl. At least one guy loved Wilson (and some guy named Bobby Wagner) better than any other two players at the game. Adrian Gregory Glover from had this to say about Wilson:

I loved what Wisconsin QB Russell Wilson did when he threw the rock when he was making plays on the run. He put his heart on his sleeve. If he works on his mechanics throwing from the pocket, I will say it here, he can emerge from this draft class as one it’s best. I was extremely impressed with him as a player and as a person. Kudos to this young man.

It's worth noting that AGG called out Wilson as the best player in the game, even though Foles was 11-of-15 for 136 yards and a touchdown in the 2012 Senior Bowl.

Hmm, so somebody actually thinks Wilson can excel at the next level? Possibly on the same level as Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III and certainly at least Ryan Tannehill and Nick Foles and Brandon Weeden?

Uhh, who the heck are you Adrian Glover? I've never even heard of you, so your opinion sucks!!! You want to know of at least one person at the Senior Bowl that would have had zero interest in Wilson as a prospect?

Denver Broncos executive vice president John Elway:

Elway has said that he's looking for "the big athlete who can throw the ball from the pocket."

Elway is searching for someone to compete with Tim Tebow, but in reality seems to want someone might different, much taller, and much better at staying in the pocket than Tebow or Wilson. But what's he expect to do? Sign Peyton Manning and draft someone eight inches taller than Wilson?

(Here's a b-b-b-b-bonus excerpt from the guy that thought Wilson was the best player on offense:)

"Linebacker Bobby Wagner of Utah State blew me away defensively. He turned it seven tackles during his time on the field. It was his dissection of one play that lead to him bringing in an interception that impressed the most. Even though it came from a different position, it reminded me of that J.J. Watt interception in the Wild Card round of the playoffs against the Bengals. It was a hustle play that was equal parts mental awareness, want to and athletic ability."

But if I'm going to listen to anybody, it's going to be Tony Pauline. He writes for for a reason, not something-butt-something-DOT-NET! Pauline notes that Wilson struggled to make plays from the pocket and isn't as good as Cousins. Rob Rang of CBS Sports agrees that Cousins, based on a week of practice and a fake game, is outshining Wilson.

South team coach Mike Shanahan has "unusually long" conversation with Wilson

While everyone is anticipating the Redskins as a favorite to land Robert Griffin III, it appears that they may also be eyeing a backup for him in the same draft. And why wouldn't that player be someone at the Senior Bowl, since head coach Mike Shanahan is coaching up the South squad.

Charlie Campbell reported that Shanahan had a meeting with Wilson and that "they spent more time with Wilson than a typical player interview." The other QBs at the Senior Bowl include Foles, Weeden, Cousins, Moore, and Ryan Lindley.

And since Wilson is a "Day 3 prospect," he should be available in the fourth round for Washington to grab and start to groom as RGIII's backup, or even a third-stringer. It probably won't even need to come to that. I'm sure the Redskins will be the first team to call Wilson and offer him a free agent contract once the good players are drafted.

You've tested "Negative" for football ability

Wilson's performance at the Senior Bowl was considered to be "good" by The Denver Post, noting that he displayed good arm strength and that he could make all the throws. However, he's going to need to "overcome" his height and weight before the draft.

I believe the technical term is that "doctor says I need a backiotomy."


Scout's honor (NFL Scouting Combine)

Russell Wilson - 71", 204 lbs, 10.25" Hands, 4.53 40-yard dash, 118" Broad, 34" Vert, 6.97 Three-cone, 28 Wonderlic

Nick Foles - 77", 243 lbs, 10.63" Hands, 5.03 40-yard dash, 112" Broad, 30.5" Vert, N/A Three-cone, 29 Wonderlic

What have we learned? That the Wonderlic matters, obviously.

I've always shown a bit of a disdain for the combine. Players that test well, don't improve their stock that much. Players that don't test well, don't usually fall that much. Failing a physical? Testing positive for drugs? Here and there we see things happen that have significant effects, but not nearly as much as it's hyped up to be.

Back in 2009, Alabama offensive tackle Andre Smith showed up to the combine out of shape and overweight. He was made fun of for running with his shirt off. He left the combine early and didn't tell anyone. He didn't do anything to help himself at his pro day either. He did 19 reps on the bench, which was higher than his Wonderlic score. (17.) People were wondering if Smith had pushed himself from possibly the first overall pick to off of day one.

The Bengals drafted Smith sixth overall.

Tom Oates of the Wisconsin State Journal had this to say about Wilson's combine performance:

When it was over, though, Wilson hadn't really changed his NFL profile. Scouts see him today much the same way they did after his one spectacular season at UW. Their widely held view? He's got everything you want in a starting NFL quarterback except height. UW listed Wilson at 6-foot, but when he was measured at the combine, the truth came out. Wilson was 5-10⅝ without shoes.

And not since Tommy "Smell Feet" Johnson in 19-aught-6 has a quarterback played without shoes!

Even writers in Wisconsin admit that they're not sure if Wilson can succeed at the next level, given his height. The only favorable comparison anyone can make is Drew Brees, and not only did Brees need to be great at everything to overcome his height, it still was a slow-to-adjust process in San Diego. The name "Seneca Wallace" also pops up as a possible best case scenario.

At least we know Mike Holmgren might be interested in Wilson then.

U Mad, Pro?! (Wisconsin Pro Day)

At Wisconsin, Wilson was "six feet tall." At the Senior Bowl, he was 5'10 and 5/8. At the combine, he was 5'10 and 5/8. Scouts kept saying the same thing about Wilson: "This guy is good, but he needs to overcome his height."

"Oh me, oh my, if only thy gifted son was taller!" they'd cry out!

Well, shit. I'll be damned. At Wilson's Pro Day, he was a straight up 5'11. Interesting.

"We had him hanging from his feet the last week – that stretched him out a little bit,’’ joked Weinke

That's former Heisman-winner Chris Weinke, as you probably gathered. For almost two months before his pro day, Weinke had been training Wilson (along with Ryan Tannehill and Cousins) for these moments. At his pro day, Wilson showed he could "make all the throws" and his coach Bret Bielema said they could stop after "two or three throws" (but of course they didn't.)

Weinke called Wilson "special," but he also tried to change up his approach:

"His whole life they’ve been telling Russell to stand tall in the pocket because he’s so short,’’ Weinke said. "I went against the grain. I told him, ‘We need to bend our legs but stay erect in our torso because an erect torso spins faster and that’s where you generate power.’"

However, it's only a pro day. These are specifically designed to make players look good to prospective NFL teams. What are the odds that anyone at attendance is actually going to make the move to draft Wilson based on this?

Among those in attendance was Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, the quarterback who led the Badgers to a share of the 1993 Big Ten title and a win over UCLA in the Rose Bowl. Because of his loyalty to his alma mater, Bevell kept an eye on Wilson’s development over the season.

"I love the guy,’’ Bevell said."Just watching the games on TV as a fan, I was just really impressed with how poised he was. Whether he was scrambling or standing in the pocket, it looked like he was doing a Pat-and-Go (a warm-up drill) most of the time, like no one was there (on defense).’’

Eh, if Seattle is gonna draft anyone, it'll be Weeden or Tannehill. They suck at QB, they can't wait until the seventh round to draft Wilson. This is just coach-speak.

Folks at The Sporting News are still really big fans of Wilson, even after an impressive pro day:

Wilson is unlikely to start in the NFL because of his height (5-11), but we believe he'd be an ideal backup to Carolina Panthers starter Cam Newton. He has elite athleticism and good passing skills, as he showed in Wednesday's workout, and his knowledge of the game will allow him to easily run the Panthers’ offense. An NFL source who attended the Wisconsin workout concurred.

Weinke trained Newton the year before, but I'm not sure how he would compare the overall prospects of Newton to Wilson. What we do know though is that if Newton faced off against Wilson in a game two (or maybe three) years in a row, there's no way Wilson would win.

What of the Green Bay Packers? Since the Seahawks signed free agent Matt Flynn to be their starter next season, the Packers have a need at backup QB. Could Wilson be the guy for them?

"He’s a very impressive fellow," (Packers GM Ted) Thompson said of Wilson, "articulate, knowledgeable, confident, and he projects that confidence. He’s going to be a good get for somebody."

I wonder if former protegee John Schneider would feel the same.

That's called "Profiling" (NFL Draft Profiles)

Is Wilson better than Andrew Luck?

At least one no-name with a Wordpress site says that his QBER stat has Wilson a hair behind Griffin and well-ahead of Luck and the rest of the competition. Even more interestingly, against common opponents, Wilson embarrassed guys like Luck and Cousins, in comparison:

As you can see, Russell Wilson outdid all of against common opponents, and most of the numbers are not even close. Most impressively in my mind, Wilson well outdid Luck and the other Pac 12 draft prospects against the mighty Oregon Ducks, an opponent that had over a month to view tape on Wilson and prepare itself to stymie Wilson’s attack in the 2012 Rose Bowl. Yet he excelled in that game. The Ducks never laid a glove on him all day long. Wilson and Monte Ball combined to keep Wisconsin in the game on a day when the Wisconsin defense was giving up long touchdown plays left, right, and center (literally).

(It should be noted that the site appears to be pro-Green Bay, and therefore, pro-Wisconsin. This filthy liar.)

Tom Melton's heart is meltin'

Have you ever in your life read a profile that was this glowing and then ended in "projected 3rd-4th round"?

This is category by category summed up in one sentence:

Size: This is Wilson's most serious issue as a prospect

Arm strength: Wilson has very good arm strength

Accuracy: Wilson's accuracy is also very impressive

Mechanics: Wilson has quality mechanices

Mobility: Wilson's mobility is pretty rare for the position

Pre/post snap reads: Wilson seems to make pretty good pre and post snap reads based off of what I've seen of him

Pocket poise: I think Wilson has pretty good poise in the pocket, especially for someone with so much athletic ability

Intangibles: Wilson's intangibles are off the charts

Character: Wilson's character is top notch

Of course, Melton isn't wrong. Pretty much everybody has similar grades for Wilson in nearly every category and everyone agrees that he's a prospect to be drafted in the third or fourth round, at earliest. But perhaps Melton is more confident than most, even going as far as to say "I think he can make it as an NFL starter."

There's at least one guy to say so. But here's PFW again...

Russell "Sprinkles" Wilson

ProFootballWeekly's summary of Wilson as a prospect:

An instinctive, multisport athlete with a terrific work ethic and likable personality, Wilson has nearly everything you desire intangibly, including toughness, competitiveness and leadership. Never will be a prototypical dropback, pocket passer, as his height always will be a limiting factor, but he has the arm, legs and smarts to grow into an effective backup in a system where he can utilize play-action, rollouts, and improv skills to make plays. Versatile player who could even be sprinkled into the game plan on a weekly basis to take advantage of his dual-threat ability. Is the type of player you root for and want on your roster.

But what can Wilson do to overcome his shitty stature? What does Wilson have to say for himself?

"There’s not that much of a difference if I was 6-1, or 5-11, to be honest with you, playing behind the offensive line we play behind and the defensive players in the NFL. You don’t really see over guys, you throw through lanes, deliver an accurate ball, throw the ball with a little arc and pace and just make plays."

I like your confidence kid, but you're out of your element. How can Wilson overcome this much of a height difference:







Uh-uh, no way, no how, see ya!

What's on draft? (Draft Projections)

People are having a hard time pegging down where Wilson will be drafted.

The first and second round seem unrealistic at this point. NFL Draft Scout has a projected round of 3-4, with three being the highest, and seven being the lowest. He's ranked seventh among the other QBs in the class.

Matt Walden from The Fifth Down, a blog on the New York Times, is much more generous. He only sees three quarterbacks ahead of Wilson in this class:

I have two concerns about Wilson’s potential. The first is that his upside might be as a backup capable of helping a team for stretches as a starter, but he’ll never demonstrate that he’s good enough to be the guy a team will build around. The second is that he shows he’s capable of a few strong seasons as a starter, but teams will always be looking for a taller, heavier quarterback in the same way the Chargers did with Drew Brees; the Patriots, Bears, and Bills did with Doug Flutie; and the 49ers did with Jeff Garcia.

However, when it comes to physical skill, passing technique, improvisational savvy and accuracy, I can’t think of a more consistent player behind him on this list. I also like that Wilson bristled at the idea of backing up Tim Tebow at the Senior Bowl when my colleague Cecil Lammey posed the question. He believes he’s a future starter. At worst, Wilson has most of the tools to become a good backup quarterback capable of productive stretches as an N.F.L. starter. That’s usually commensurate for a quarterback ranked in the range of 4th-7th in a draft class.

It's a tough but fair assessment, based on what we've typically seen from quarterbacks under 6-feet.

However, nearly everything in the article is gushing over Wilson's ability except for that one thing. Other than that, it reads like how you might expect a scouting report of Luck to read. And the article opens with this:

Wilson reminds me of something I once heard Gil Brandt, the Cowboys’ vice president for player personnel during the Tom Landry era, say. Brandt, now a special correspondent for, provided analysis during the 2002 draft and said that Brian Westbrook would have been a top 10 pick if he had been a couple of inches taller and 10 pounds heavier.

For the record, Westbrook was an All-Pro, and a really good football player. He was drafted in the third round, 91st overall. It would be interesting if others saw this same type of comparison and thought, "We should take him earlier than 91st then."

Maybe Mike Mayock of the NFL Network is also a believer:

"He’s not typical and he’s too short and all those things," NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said. "However, to me, he’s a winner. "Doesn’t matter where you plug him in. He finds a way to win ... I think he’s the kind of guy that might develop more than people think."

It seems like "around the fourth round" is the consensus.

Cory Bonini at KFFL may have nailed it with his third round project, then goes on to list a long amount of strengths for Wilson, and then a "short" list of three negatives:


-Size (5-foot-10 5/8, 204 pounds) is his only glaring drawback

-Played behind one of the best offensive lines in the nation

-Essentially no upside - what you see is what you get

Wait, what I see is what I get? No more upside? What I see...

is what I get?

Didn't this guy just have one of the best college football seasons in NCAA history? Playing behind an NFL-quality offensive line (two of his teammates on the line are better draft prospects than Wilson, projected for the first and second round) he makes nearly no mistakes in his college career, and what I see... is what I get? So you're saying that if Seattle drafts Wilson, that is what they will get?

Doesn't seem so negative to me.

This no-upside QB prospect with one glaring weakness is becoming more interesting.

Inside Lewin Davis

Then finally, there's "Russell Wilson: The Asterisk."

Wilson has famously broken the Lewin Career Forecast projections of Football Outsiders. While two of the best QB prospects of the century have come out with a projected 2,530 DYAR (Griffin) and 1,749 DYAR (Luck), Wilson came out to 2,650 DYAR.

Brock Osweiler, a 6'7 QB at Arizona State (hey, he might be perfect for Elway) only came in at 248 DYAR. Even if you don't understand the forecast or the DYAR, just use your imagination: 2,650 versus 248.

Foles was 1,391.

Tannehill was 730.

Weeden was 1,011.

Cousins was 1,362.

In this one case, there's one projection that doesn't take height into account. Lewin is meant to only evaluate quarterbacks that are expected to be drafted in the first three rounds. It looks at career games started, completion rate, BMI (Body Mass Index), passer rating difference between junior and senior seasons, whether you played for a BCS-qualifying school, run-pass ratio, and rushing yards.

Probably the most important factor there where it pertains to Wilson: BMI.

While people do look at the difference between 5'11 versus 6'1, people rarely consider the difference between 6'2 and 6'4. Height only matters when you go below a certain threshold, but BMI only cares about height in relation to weight. Wilson is stout, muscular, and has a solid BMI of roughly 28.6. Compare that to Moore, who is slightly taller, and his BMI is 27.

Drew Brees would have a BMI of roughly 28.3.

Wilson blows the rest of the competition, both present and past, out of the water when it comes to the Lewin Forecast. It certainly seems like an opportunity for Football Outsiders to boast that they've got something special here with Wilson and the projections that ignore height.

If only...

Yes, that projection is even higher than the one for Robert Griffin. No, it doesn't particularly mean that Wilson is a sleeper prospect...

At Wisconsin, Wilson got to pick apart defenses that were concentrating on stopping Montee Ball. At North Carolina State, I doubt opponents were quaking in their boots at the thought of Mustafa Greene and Dean Haynes. It goes without saying that there isn't another quarterback in the LCF data set who transferred between his junior and senior years...

There's also the issue of height, another data point where there's nobody in our data set that can be compared to Wilson. At first, it seems strange that LCF doesn't include a variable to discount short quarterbacks, but when you look at the data set that went into creating LCF the reasons are pretty clear. There's no penalty for being 5-foot-11, like Wilson is, because there are no quarterbacks in the data set who are shorter than 6-foot-0. There's no penalty for being only 6-foot-0 because the two quarterbacks who are 6-foot-0 are Drew Brees and Michael Vick....

Quarterbacks who are Wilson's height simply don't get drafted in the first three rounds of the draft, period. Wilson too will probably be drafted on the third day of the draft, round four or later, which would render his absurdly high LCF moot.

Counting the actual period, that's two periods.

Based on what we know about Wilson, what we know about history concerning quarterbacks of his height, and what we know of the Seattle Seahawks as of the 2012 draft, I think Wilson would actually be a great backup to Matt Flynn. He's certainly someone worth taking a flier on.

Let's make it the fifth round. Just to be safe.