BY SPNW Staff 10:51PM 04/27/2012

Seahawks reach in 3rd for 5-foot-11 QB

It would be easy to say the Seahawks went off the deep end again Friday night, but they chose from the shallowest end of the talent pool.

By selecting Russell Wilson of Wisconsin, who at 5-foot-11 would be one of the shortest quarterbacks in recent NFL history, the Seahawks went against the form chart again in the NFL draft, stretching Friday as they did Thursday with the first-round pick, defensive end Bruce Irvin.

““People tell me that I’’m too short — they’ve been telling me that my whole life,” Wilson, who led the college nation in quarterback efficiency, said by teleconference after the Seahawks drafted him in the third round (75th overall). “From my perspective, I think the main thing is I have all the other tools. I have big hands, long arms and I think the main thing is I have a big heart.”

Russell Wilson celebrates after Wisconsin clinched a Rose Bowl bid. / Wiki Commons

Naturally, coach Pete Carroll was quick to overlook the obvious shortcoming too.

“Russell has such incredible athleticism and has had historic success,” he said. “He’s an extraordinary kid who can handle all the pressure and scrutiny. More than anyone alive in the draft, gives you a chance to have a great player. All he’s ever done is be great.”

Wilson graduated in three years from North Carolina State, where he played baseball as well as football. He wanted to give pro baseball a try, but the day after Colorado drafted him in the fourth round, his father died. Not long after, he decided baseball wasn’t for him, and he wanted to pursue football again.

The first freshman to be named All-ACC first-team quarterback transferred to Wisconsin for a fourth season. In two weeks, he was voted team captain by his new teammates. In three weeks he mastered the playbook. In six months, he had the Badgers in the Rose Bowl against Oregon.

Said GM John Schneider: “He’’s extremely talented and he gains the trust of everyone around him. He can tilt a room.””

The question is whether the tilt slides Tarvaris Jackson out of Seattle. The veteran incumbent starter was already challenged by the arrival of free agent QB Matt Flynn from Green Bay. And now the Seahawks draft a QB who wouldn’t be much a of threat except that the pick was fairly high if the Seahawks were merely looking for training-camp fodder.

Including last year’s third string QB, Josh Portis, the Seahawks have four QBs, and the first draftee in Carroll’s three drafts in Seattle.

“Perfect,” said Schneider. “Ideal situation.”

Smooth and articulate, Wilson has made his sports career out of beating back doubters.

“You’’ve got to be able to compete at the highest level –  I played in two great, great conferences in the ACC and the Big-10,” he said. “I’’ve shown that I can play at a very high level and be very productive with the football. I think the main thing is just being efficient, being a facilitator of the football and getting there to work every single day and compete.””

The Seahawks will complete the draft’s final four rounds beginning at 9 a.m Saturday with seven picks, having acquired three additional picks in the past two days by trading down in the draft.


YourThoughts

  • 1coolguy

    What a wasted pick – there is no chance for a guy this small to stand up to the physical demands of the NFL. He couild do it in college, but this “ain’t Kansas Dorothy”.
    With all the needs the  Hawks have, I just don’t get it with this one. They could have gotten a very solid OL or DL in the 3rd round.

    • Artthiel

       Definite stretch. Like Irvin. He might a Seneca Wallace — great athlete, not quite a QB.

    • Tp10super

      Wisconsin had the biggest Offensive Line in the country, averaging 6’6 and 312lbs.  Wilson had 3 balls batted down during his Senior year.  He also set the NCAA record for Passing Efficiency and was 2 hail mary’s away from playing LSU in the National Championship game.  What did Josh Portis do that gave everyone around here a hard on?  Josh Portis got kicked out of 2 schools and was undrafted.  Tavaris Jackson has 1 year left on his contract and will be gone.  What is the problem with drafting a productive, athletic, intelligent leader in the 3rd round who will be counted on to win games for you when the starter is out?  You really want Josh Portis coming into a game in 2013 after Matt Flynn gets knocked out?  Wilson is shorter than him, but he is faster, has a more accurate and bigger arm, has made plays against big time competition, and has nothing but upside.  If he was 6’1 he would have been the 3rd QB taken in this draft.  He measured 5’10 and 7/8….so that’s 2 1/8 inches…what does 2 inches matter when a guy threw for 6,700 yards and 61 TD’s his last two years in college.  Getting a backup Tackle or Guard with the 75th pick in the draft is THAT much more important?  This front office has done nothing but prove the last 3 years that they know how to evaluate talent and when/where to get them.  Tell me how many 3rd round tackles are not only starting in the NFL but would even garner value in 3 years….  What if Wilson shows up big in preseason games and filling in during the regular season while Matt Flynn proves he is the QB of the next decade.  You send him to another team for a 2nd or 3rd round pick or a player…or he is one of the better backup QB’s in the league and someone who holds the locker room together.  I’m not sure how getting that type of person and player with the 75th pick is such a negative and can come even close to being called a “waste”.  I’ll take a “very solid” QB who has proved his worth over a “very solid OL or DL” in the 3rd round any day of the week.

  • 1coolguy

    What a wasted pick – there is no chance for a guy this small to stand up to the physical demands of the NFL. He couild do it in college, but this “ain’t Kansas Dorothy”.
    With all the needs the  Hawks have, I just don’t get it with this one. They could have gotten a very solid OL or DL in the 3rd round.

    • Artthiel

       Definite stretch. Like Irvin. He might a Seneca Wallace — great athlete, not quite a QB.

    • Tp10super

      Wisconsin had the biggest Offensive Line in the country, averaging 6’6 and 312lbs.  Wilson had 3 balls batted down during his Senior year.  He also set the NCAA record for Passing Efficiency and was 2 hail mary’s away from playing LSU in the National Championship game.  What did Josh Portis do that gave everyone around here a hard on?  Josh Portis got kicked out of 2 schools and was undrafted.  Tavaris Jackson has 1 year left on his contract and will be gone.  What is the problem with drafting a productive, athletic, intelligent leader in the 3rd round who will be counted on to win games for you when the starter is out?  You really want Josh Portis coming into a game in 2013 after Matt Flynn gets knocked out?  Wilson is shorter than him, but he is faster, has a more accurate and bigger arm, has made plays against big time competition, and has nothing but upside.  If he was 6’1 he would have been the 3rd QB taken in this draft.  He measured 5’10 and 7/8….so that’s 2 1/8 inches…what does 2 inches matter when a guy threw for 6,700 yards and 61 TD’s his last two years in college.  Getting a backup Tackle or Guard with the 75th pick in the draft is THAT much more important?  This front office has done nothing but prove the last 3 years that they know how to evaluate talent and when/where to get them.  Tell me how many 3rd round tackles are not only starting in the NFL but would even garner value in 3 years….  What if Wilson shows up big in preseason games and filling in during the regular season while Matt Flynn proves he is the QB of the next decade.  You send him to another team for a 2nd or 3rd round pick or a player…or he is one of the better backup QB’s in the league and someone who holds the locker room together.  I’m not sure how getting that type of person and player with the 75th pick is such a negative and can come even close to being called a “waste”.  I’ll take a “very solid” QB who has proved his worth over a “very solid OL or DL” in the 3rd round any day of the week.

  • Joe Fan

    For the life of me, I do not understand this pick.  Why replace Portis with Wison?  We needed a home run with this pick and to fill an immediate need.  Take Wilson in round 6 if need be.

    • Artthiel

       Intangibles. Listen to this guy, as well as others who know him, he’s more than the stack of his molecules.

  • Joe Fan

    For the life of me, I do not understand this pick.  Why replace Portis with Wison?  We needed a home run with this pick and to fill an immediate need.  Take Wilson in round 6 if need be.

    • Artthiel

       Intangibles. Listen to this guy, as well as others who know him, he’s more than the stack of his molecules.

  • RadioGuy

    I agree with Russell Wilson being “too short.”  That’s one of the reasons San Diego was willing to send Drew Brees packing to New Orleans so they could put Philip Rivers under center instead…worked out great for the Chargers, didn’t it?  I mean, what have Brees and the Saints done since that deal?

    Seriously, I’m willing to wait and see how Wilson actually does before writing him off.  Otherwise, why even bother playing football in the first place?  We can just assign wins and losses by acclamation all the way to the Super Bowl and save the money spent on tickets by staring at our computers instead.  No sense in letting these guys actually prove on the field whether or not they belong in the NFL when our minds are already made up.

    • Artthiel

       Radio, if Wilson were 6-1, he’d be a first-rounder. If he were 5-9, he wouldn’t have been drafted. Metrics are important, but they’re not everything. Wilson is the kind of guy who can, like Drew Brees, become a outlier — the guy who breaks the mold.

      • RadioGuy

        That’s why I’m saying let’s let this guy actually get on the field in camp and prove whether he belongs.  After watching the Seahawks give up 50 sacks last year, it seems fair to say the pocket generally doesn’t hold up too well in Seattle.  Having a QB who can create plays on the run is huge, and Wilson seems to be that type of player. 

        Also, you mentioned Seneca Wallace, who I thought was a terrific athlete (best pure athlete on the team, IMHO), but Holmgren was always moving him around and never let him really find a comfort zone as a backup QB.  I don’t see that happening with Wilson, whose off-the-charts leadership abiilty gives him a mentality you want to see at QB, too.

        At the very least, he’ll challenge Portis for the 3rd QB slot on the team, but I can totally see him eventually becoming Flynn’s top backup and making Tarvaris Jackson expendable.  I liked TJ more than I thought I would last year, but I’d consider Wilson an upgrade if he can negate the size issue.

  • RadioGuy

    I agree with Russell Wilson being “too short.”  That’s one of the reasons San Diego was willing to send Drew Brees packing to New Orleans so they could put Philip Rivers under center instead…worked out great for the Chargers, didn’t it?  I mean, what have Brees and the Saints done since that deal?

    Seriously, I’m willing to wait and see how Wilson actually does before writing him off.  Otherwise, why even bother playing football in the first place?  We can just assign wins and losses by acclamation all the way to the Super Bowl and save the money spent on tickets by staring at our computers instead.  No sense in letting these guys actually prove on the field whether or not they belong in the NFL when our minds are already made up.

    • Artthiel

       Radio, if Wilson were 6-1, he’d be a first-rounder. If he were 5-9, he wouldn’t have been drafted. Metrics are important, but they’re not everything. Wilson is the kind of guy who can, like Drew Brees, become a outlier — the guy who breaks the mold.

      • RadioGuy

        That’s why I’m saying let’s let this guy actually get on the field in camp and prove whether he belongs.  After watching the Seahawks give up 50 sacks last year, it seems fair to say the pocket generally doesn’t hold up too well in Seattle.  Having a QB who can create plays on the run is huge, and Wilson seems to be that type of player. 

        Also, you mentioned Seneca Wallace, who I thought was a terrific athlete (best pure athlete on the team, IMHO), but Holmgren was always moving him around and never let him really find a comfort zone as a backup QB.  I don’t see that happening with Wilson, whose off-the-charts leadership abiilty gives him a mentality you want to see at QB, too.

        At the very least, he’ll challenge Portis for the 3rd QB slot on the team, but I can totally see him eventually becoming Flynn’s top backup and making Tarvaris Jackson expendable.  I liked TJ more than I thought I would last year, but I’d consider Wilson an upgrade if he can negate the size issue.

  • jafabian

    IIRC, Dave Krieg is 5′ 11″.  I’m surprised the Hawks went for a QB this early in the draft though.  I thought they might take a flyer on Kellen Moore in the late rounds instead if they were going to pick up a QB.  I guess they still could since he wasn’t drafted.

  • jafabian

    IIRC, Dave Krieg is 5′ 11″.  I’m surprised the Hawks went for a QB this early in the draft though.  I thought they might take a flyer on Kellen Moore in the late rounds instead if they were going to pick up a QB.  I guess they still could since he wasn’t drafted.