In 2012, it was Russell Wilson, who in our view should have been the AP offensive rookie of the year. Starting in four days, the question becomes whether any of the quarterbacks whose apples-to-oranges “value” pushes him beyond the first two rounds of the draft has the potential to become another Russell Wilson.
The easy answer is no, due both to the reality that Russell Wilsons don’t come along every year (or every decade) and that Wilson slipped due to a scouting bias against quarterbacks who are on the wrong side of six feet.
Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times looks back at what allowed Russell Wilson to become Russell Freaking Wilson. It becomes more clear after reading Farmer’s article that it was an aberration to find such a great player so far from the top of the draft.
Other quarterbacks have become stars absent a first-round pedigree, including Joe Montana (round three), Tom Brady (round six), and Kurt Warner (round none). But no rookie quarterback taken that late has instantly performed at such a high level, taking his team to the playoffs and doing everything in his power to earn a berth in the conference title game.
Both coach Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevel raved to Farmer about Wilson’s ability to fix flaws quickly, from instantly changing the placement of deep passes from the receiver’s inside shoulder to his outside shoulder, to immediately ditching a habit of double-checking every play call before sharing it with the huddle.
“[H]e can fix whatever he needs to fix,” Carroll said. “That’s an extraordinary characteristic for a young guy.”
There’s much about Wilson that is extraordinary. And it’s extraordinary to think that a cockeyed obsession with height was largely responsible for 74 players being picked before him.
The good news for this year’s quarterback class could be that a desire to avoid facing tough questions from owners about missing on the next Russell Wilson will prompt more General Managers and coaches to roll the dice on a quarterback earlier than they otherwise would have. While that run may not come in round one, it’ll definitely come in round two.
Or, at the latest, before anyone picks a punter.