Give Russell Wilson two more inches and he’d be a first round pick. But at 5-11 and 204 pounds, the University of Wisconsin product might have to wait until Day 3 of this year’s draft to hear his name called.
"Honestly, I believe the height’s not a factor at all," Wilson said at the NFL Scouting combine in Indianapolis in February. "I have great feet in the pocket, Drew Brees has unbelievable feet. I watched tons and tons of film on him, and the things he does in the pocket are just remarkable.
"So I truly believe the height’s really not a factor. You have to be able to understand the offense, know the whys of football. Play with rhythm and timing and just be athletic. I definitely believe I’m one of the most athletic guys here, without a doubt in my mind, and so I think that gives me an advantage. I have a high, quick release, which when you play with rhythm and timing, it’s hard to stop."
Wilson’s college production is not an issue. After transferring from North Carolina State to Wisconsin a month before training camp, Wilson was elected a team captain, and he set single-season school records for passing yards (3,175), passing touchdowns (33) and passer efficiency rating (191.8).
The Badgers finished 11-3 overall and lost to Oregon in the Rose Bowl.
And Wilson performed in the clutch. Take a look at his third down passing numbers, which Stats. Inc does here comparing him to other quarterbacks in the draft, and you come away impressed – 57 of 76 (75 percent) for 16 touchdowns and just one interception.
Plain and simple, this guy makes plays.
“The only issue with Russell Wilson is his height,” said Jon Gruden when asked about Wilson during a conference call in preparation for the draft this week. “He's got tremendous mobility. I've got him at 4.50 in the 40. He's mastered two different offensive systems. When do any of us remember a kid transferring from NC State to Wisconsin in July and breaking every Wisconsin Badger record? The Badgers could have won every game this year if not for a couple Hail Marys. “This is a tremendous kid. His intangibles are off the charts. He walks into Wisconsin, he's a team captain. We all know what a great athlete he is. He's a high draft choice in baseball. “The only issue is his height, and we use Drew Brees as the classic example. If you just look at one inch or an inch and a half, that's the height difference in Russell Wilson and Drew Brees. But he's got a lot of questions and answers. There are not a lot of quarterbacks under six feet that are playing in the NFL today or who have played the game, period. He's going to have to answer those questions.”
The Seahawks likely will take a good look at Wilson as a developmental prospect in the latter portion of the draft. Seattle’s ffensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, himself a standout quarterback at Wisconsin, attended Wilson’s pro day last month.
Wilson is an ideal fit for Seattle’s version of the West Coast offense because of his strong arm, mobility and ability to throw on the run, accuracy and good decision making skills.
The Seahawks like third string quarterback Josh Portis and his upside. But like Pete Carroll says, there’s nothing wrong with a little competition.
Seattle continues to do its homework on quarterbacks like Texas A&M’s Ryan Tannehill, Arizona State’s Brock Osweiler and Chandler Harnish of Northern Illinois, but Wilson could be the best fit of the bunch.