Russell Wilson was such a great college quarterback that it now seems obvious that he’d be a great pro quarterback as well. But, of course, it wasn’t obvious: He lasted until the middle of the third round of the 2012 NFL draft before the Seahawks got him.
Wilson would have been a first-round pick if he were 6-foot-3, but he’s not, and so he wasn’t. Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell says the Seahawks had a simple approach to drafting Wilson: They’d ignore height.
“I think the first thing you have to do is be able to overlook the fact that he was 5’10 ½” to be able to take him,” Bevell said. “[General Manager] John Schneider did a phenomenal job in preparation for that and was able to look past that. We just tried to build our offense with what is best suited for our guys.”
Bevell played quarterback at Wisconsin in the 1990s and still knew plenty of the Badgers’ coaches when Wilson was at Wisconsin, and he said that helped him research Wilson. Bevell also said that the Seahawks liked Wilson being a two-sport athlete — even though it was Wilson’s commitment to minor league baseball that led him to lose the starting quarterback job at North Carolina State and transfer to Wisconsin.
“Russell has great savvy and awareness,” Bevell said. “I think all the sports that he played as he was growing up have given him that. His baseball days with being able to slide – timing or whatever to get down. He’s played enough football that just his spatial awareness and his vision of being able to see where all the defenders are coming from and the understanding of how important that he is in our offense and he knows that he has to be able to get up and play the next play not just that one play. Again, he has great awareness; it’s kind of innate in him.”
Wilson has all the qualities an NFL team looks for in a quarterback, except height. The Seahawks were smart to overlook that one.