While Russell Wilson has been busy with things such as being with Ciara at the Grammys in Los Angeles, the legacy of the quarterback is obvious listening to the coaches and collegians across the country at the NFL combine.
Here this week, the name “Russell Wilson” is a comparison of honor and admiration -- and in the case of Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams, a “blessing.”
New 49ers coach Chip Kelly met away from the combine site on Thursday with beat writers from San Francisco. As my pal and former Sacramento Bee colleague Matt Barrows tells it, Kelly went on and on about one of the hottest (and weirdest) topics at this combine: hand size.
In doing so, Kelly went on and on about Wilson.
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Kelly told Barrows and the Niners beat writers the importance of hand size is “huge” for quarterbacks.
“You better have big hands,” Kelly said, according to Barrows’ story in The Bee. “Russell Wilson is 5-10 1/2 -- but he’s got 10¼ (-inch) hands. You better have a big paw to manipulate the football.”
Seahawks Pete Carroll spent part of Thursday here at Lucas Oil Stadium reciting all the qualities he saw in Wilson at this combine four years ago, before he and general manager John Schneider made him Seattle’s third-round draft choice and then, a few months later, its starting quarterback from day one of his career.
“We thought he had an extraordinary list of characteristics that would allow him to be a great player, some that no other player in the draft have, that few players ever have: the savvy, the escapeability, the creativity, the great work ethic,” Carroll said. “Mix all of those things together, he’s a marvelous talent.
“He just came in a different package.”
Even some of this year’s college quarterbacks, four years, two Super Bowls and a Seahawks NFL title removed from when Wilson was going through this draft process, revere Wilson almost as much as Carroll does.
“Most definitely,” Jacoby Brissett said, his voice rising.
Brissett is like Wilson, a North Carolina State quarterback who transferred to play a final college season and is now getting overlooked beneath the top tier of QBs at the combine. He’s been seeking advice from Wilson on what awaits him.
“He has a camp there (the Russell Wilson Passing Academy in Raleigh) and he comes through a couple times a summer,” Brissett said. “I got to help work out his camp two times and be around him for a while.
“He just said it’s a business, and you just have to work at it,” said Brissett, who transferred from Florida to NC State for last season when the Gators chose Jeff Driskel over him as their quarterback. “It’s a job that you never fully understand or fully know it, you won’t have fully have all the answers to. So you have to work. I mean, you watch his game and it’s evident that’s all he does is work. He tries to perfect his craft.”
Adams has also done a camp with Wilson. He said he’s flattered people are comparing him to the Seahawks’ $87.6 million franchise quarterback.
Adams is the former Eastern Washington Eagle that shredded Washington with 475 yards and seven touchdowns in the Huskies’ 2014 home opener. He transferred to Oregon for last season then wondrously ran around the backfield extending plays for the Ducks, Wilson style.
Adams is 5 feet 11. So the Wilson comparisons keep coming.
“I think that’s a blessing,” Adams said. “I’m blessed to be compared to Russell Wilson, a great quarterback like that.
“I’ve always rooted for him. I did a quarterback camp with him,” Adams said. “Drew Brees too; he’s been getting it done for a long time. I don’t think too much about being a short quarterback. You find a window. It’s about your football IQ, I think. If you’re prepared well, I think you’re going to do well. This is nothing against Tom Brady or Brock Osweiler, but I see those guys get their balls batted down a lot.
“So it’s not about being short—you get your balls batted down if you’re tall or short—it’s about getting the ball out on time, having the right pocket, stuff like that.”