The reaction is still coming down, and it’s predictable. Most draft analysts feel the Seattle Seahawks wasted a third round pick by selecting Wisconsin QB Russell Wilson.
I, for one, just don’t get it.
Click around the net for a bit, check out all the draft grades and blog reactions. You’ll find one consistent criticism of Wilson. And it’s the most obvious one…..
He’s too short.
You’ve no doubt seen the on-air debate Mel Kiper Jr. and Jon Gruden had on the ESPN set shortly before the Seahawks took Wilson. Kiper ranting and raving for nearly six minutes about why he thinks the odds are against Wilson….yet he could only come up with one fact to back up his argument.
He’s too short.
Ultimately, Kiper even made the case against his argument sound more compelling than the one for it.
I’m not picking on Russell Wilson; I’m a fan of Russell Wilson. On a scale of 1 to 10 — character-wise — he’s a 15. Jon, I said it yesterday, if he was 6-2, he’d be a top-10 pick.
Pete Carroll hinted in his pre-draft press conference last Monday that the Seahawks are willing to think outside the box when it comes to finding “uniquely talented” players…..
We might surprise you a little bit with some of our thoughts in that regard
It shouldn’t have been that much of a surprise. Carroll and G.M. John Schneider have proven adept at finding players from all corners. They’ve taken a roster that was old and untalented two years ago and transformed it into it’s polar opposite by grabbing players high in the draft (Earl Thomas), low in the draft (Kam Chancellor, K.J. Wright), off the streets (Doug Baldwin) and Canada (Brandon Browner.) They took a lot of heat for passing on Andy Dalton last year when they selected at #25, but they were adamant that he just wasn’t the right guy at the right time.
Now they are just as adamant that Wilson is.
Don’t be fooled into thinking they only view Wilson as a great backup behind recently acquired Matt Flynn. You don’t use 3rd round picks and talk them up the way they are on backups. Anything short of Flynn becoming an instant Pro Bowl-caliber QB and it will only be a matter of when, not if, Wilson takes over.
What makes him so “uniquely talented?” If you could draft a list of qualities necessary for a guy to succeed as a QB in the NFL he would check every box except height. And the attributes he does have are so extraordinary it makes up for his one, um….. shortcoming. (Sorry, too easy.) Wilson has long arms and huge hands, the biggest of any QB at the combine. Watch Flynn, who’s a full 3 inches taller, and Wilson clearly has the stronger arm because of it. Flynn actually releases the ball lower than Wilson, almost shot-putting the ball. Watch tape of Wilson throwing and it looks remarkably similar to Drew Brees. Both come straight over the top, and Brees has been so good for so long that it’s easy to forget he’s barely 6’0″ himself.
Wilson has also proven to be an extremely smart quarterback, able to pick up Wisconsin’s complicated West Coast offense in one offseason after transferring from North Carolina State. That offense is extremely similar to what the Seahawks, with former Badger QB Darell Bevell as the coordinator. Knowing precisely where to go with the ball helps him overcome his height-deficiency, and Wilson is a surgeon when it comes to reading defenses, anticipating, and delivering the ball on time.
Then, there are those leadership qualities, and that “15 out of 10″ character rating.
After treading water with QB’s their first two years at the helm, Carroll and Schneider have now stockpiled some nice talent at the position. Flynn could be an outstanding starter, and is signed for a reasonable amount of money. They also believe last year’s 3rd stringer Josh Portis has a high ceiling.
I say Wilson is good enough to win the backup role, and the Seahawks will trade or release Tavarius Jackson before opening day. If Flynn falters, or proves unable to overcome his own physical limitations, Wilson will be there. And once he takes the starting job, he’ll hold onto it for a very, very long time.
Go ahead Kiper, call me crazy.
Follow me on Twitter @HawkCoug08