BY Adam Lewis 12:57PM 01/27/2014

Lunch Links: Wilson was too short for Broncos

Broncos executive vice president of football operations John Elway loved everything about Seahawks QB Russell Wilson — except his height.

The Broncos were interested in selecting Russell Wilson in the 2012 NFL Draft. Part of the reason they didn’t take him was his height. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

Russell Wilson had a chance to be the heir to Peyton Manning until he came up short.

In a story Monday on ESPN, Broncos executive vice president of football operations John Elway revealed that Denver wanted to select a quarterback in the 2012 NFL draft that could succeed Peyton Manning after he retires, presumably in a few years. By the second round, the club had whittled their options to two: Wilson and Arizona State quarterback Brock Osweiler.

They chose Osweiler, a 6-foot-8, 240-pound pocket passer who verbally committed to play basketball for Gonzaga as a freshman at Flathead High School (Kalispell, MT), then changed his mind before his junior year. Osweiler went on to star for the Sun Devils in football. As a junior at ASU, he threw for 4,036 yards, 26 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Following the season, he declared early for the NFL draft.

According to ESPN, Elway loved everything about Wilson — athleticism, attitude and ability to extend plays  — but went with Osweiler because he was younger (21). Elway said he thinks that quarterbacks need size to succeed in the NFL.

Their respective rosters officially list Osweiler at 6-foot-7 and Wilson at 5-foot-11, but in person their height difference is likely closer to a foot. For Elway, apparently, that made the difference.


  • RadioGuy

    If it was THAT important that quarterbacks be tall, Dan McGwire would have a bust in Canton instead of being a bust, period. Besides, Denver’s not the only team to pass on Russ: EVERYONE did…two or three times (including the Seahawks). Sometimes it really is better to be lucky than smart.

  • jafabian

    It’s amazing how many teams passed on Wilson and why. And teams will still be enamored with height regardless. Not even the success of Drew Brees will get clubs to rethink that philosophy, or the lack of success with Dan McGwire. Hopefully both Carroll and Schneider will continue to have great success with their formula in evaluating players. I don’t want the club to satisfy itself with winning this Sunday. I want them to achieve what 49er Vernon Davis observed: a dynasty. And that’s what they seem to be building.

  • oldfan

    In watching two years of Russell Wilson with the Seahawks and a handful of games at Wisconsin I never once thought, “They lost that game because Wilson is too short.”

    Matt Stafford, Jay Cutler, Andy Dalton, and Carson Palmer have all the measurements you could want but you don’t see them far into the playoffs. Meanwhile Drew Brees has four 5,000 yard seasons and a Super Bowl win, and Wilson is on the verge of one. Joe Theismann, Doug Flutie, and Jim Zorn, had long productive careers despite being “too small.” If Peyton Manning was four inches shorter would he be mediocre?

    Maybe height is overrated.