Jim Irsay: Colts were ready to draft Russell Wilson in 2012’s fourth round

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During a characteristically rambling response to one of the questions posed to Colts owner Jim Irsay at Sunday’s press conference aimed primarily at publicly lobbying to keep the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Irsay dropped an interesting nugget.

Irsay said that, during the 2012 draft, the Colts were going to select quarterback Russell Wilson in round four.

With the first pick in round three (64th overall), Indianapolis had selected tight end Dwayne Allen. The Seahawks picked Wilson 11 selections later, at No. 75. (The Wilson selection came five spots after the Jaguars drafted a punter.)

The Colts’ fourth-round pick was the second in the round, at No. 97. They’d eventually trade up to No. 92 with the 49ers in order to select receiver T.Y. Hilton. (The 49ers eventually traded the 97th selection to the Dolphins, who selected running back Lamar Miller.)

If Wilson had lasted until the second selection in round four, or if Indy had traded back into round three to get Wilson, Wilson would have spent a while on the bench, barring a trade. Andrew Luck, the first overall selection that year, didn’t miss a game until the 2015 season.

That same year, the team that traded up to take quarterback Robert Griffin III with the second overall pick in the draft did indeed select a quarterback in round four — Kirk Cousins.

It’s hard to imagine Wilson not eventually becoming a great quarterback. However, his career would have started very differently if Andrew Luck and not Matt Flynn had been leading the depth chart when Wilson arrived.

24 responses to “Jim Irsay: Colts were ready to draft Russell Wilson in 2012’s fourth round

  1. Whatever he needs to say to stay relevant and give off the illusion they have a competent scouting department.
    From all I’ve seen, the Seahawks were worried about a couple other teams drafting him, but one of them wasn’t Indy.

  2. My team was ready to draft X (enter a hall of famer) in the slot after where they were taken by the team that actually drafted them.

    The other thing – lets say the Colts did draft Russel Wilson and Andrew Luck.
    Presumably Luck is the starter so what happens to Wilson?
    He sits for 4 years and leaves.
    He competes somewhere and wins or goes to a team with a QB and he sits.
    What a waste, but it’s possible.
    Wilson would have missed 4-6 years in that scenario.

  3. I can’t tell you how many teams have passed on HOF players throughout the years. Many, many…..in fact. Seattle didn’t know how good he was either or he would have been picked first. Sometimes it pays to Study hard, evaluate as best you can and then, get lucky.

  4. And Andy Reid wanted to draft him in the 2nd, but Howie Roseman persuaded him to wait another round and the rest his history.

  5. Obviously when a team selects a QB in the first round, he’s expected to play & contribute heavily on year one.

    The only problem with a fantasy Luck/Wilson scenario, is that Russell Wilson would not have cooperated by quietly sitting behind Luck. He’s the better player and like it happened with Flynn, using their eyes, the Colts would have recognized the same thing in practice and every on-the-the field function.

    If football is a meritocracy, Wilson wins the job.

  6. thank you for point out the butterfly effect. All to many times everyone acts like no matter what changes the result would be the same. Wilson might have been hit by a bus in some other city. A classic is always Gronk. Oh if we could have just drafted Gronk. Maybe Grok success had more to do with that fact that he went to NE and not based on him. You never know and that is the way life works.

  7. Just HAD to put in that jab at the Jags taking a punter R3 didn’t you Mike? XD Hasn’t that poor franchised suffered enough?

  8. It makes sense. No one saw him as an NFL starter or he would have been drafted in the first couple of rounds. No one really thinks they’re drafting a starting QB in round 4. Remember, the Seahawks were going to roll with Matt Flynn until Wilson blew him out of the water.

  9. Bingo! What this guy said is 100% on point. I’ll bet Tom Brady was on someone else’s board at some point also…yawn

    smartcollegefootball says:
    February 23, 2020 at 6:25 pm
    “Wilson was on our draft board in 2012”

    There, fixed it-

  10. Irsay, Polian, and the Colts are probably the greatest almost-would’ve-should’ve-could’ve draft scouts in history.

  11. It was never a possiblility as Andy Reid told Philadelphia reporters years ago that the Eagles had targeted Russell Wilson in the 3rd round but settled for Nick Foles when Russell went before their pick.

  12. Or Andy Reid steps in getting a backup for Vick and Wilson ends up never even playing the eagles let alone beating them constantly over the years.

  13. They gave up a first round pick the next year for Trent Richardson and sadly Mr Irsay is a heavy drug user So yeah this is actually 1000% believable. I’m pretty sure a bunch of people locked him out of the draft room to prevent this. I’m sure he was yelling they should trade up to #2 and get RG3 as well.

    I mean lets be real. Irsay in his condition might have just found out Jacoby Brissett wasn’t Russell Wilson.

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