Russell Wilson (Wisconsin)
-- Courtesy of Getty Images --
Height: 5110 Weight: 204 40 Time: 4.55 Bench: N/A Vertical: 34.0 Broad: 9’8
Final Grade: 7.6
Projected Draft Position: Third – Early Fourth
As a coveted prep star out of Richmond, Virginia, Wilson excelled as both a quarterback and baseball infielder. Pursuing his career as a football player, Wilson joined NC State, where he redshirted his freshman season. In the following 2008 season, Wilson was named to the ACC Academic Honor Roll and became the first freshman to ever be named All-ACC first team quarterback. He was also a member of the nation’s All-Freshman team that same year. In 2009, Wilson was an All-ACC honorable mention, ranking fourth in the country in touchdown passes. In 2010, Wilson earned All-ACC second team honors and was named his team’s top performer (the Governor’s Trophy). Later that season, Wilson was drafted by the MLB’s Colorado Rockies. Wilson transferred to Wisconsin in 2011 and was named third-team All-American. He also first-team All-B10 and was named the conference’s quarterback of the year.
As a two-sport collegiate athlete, Wilson is very impressive athletically. Wilson possesses a compact, yet proportionate frame with decent thickness. Wilson’s leg strength give him great body control and he gets behind his legs in every aspect of his game. Whether it be throwing, running or manuevering, Wilson appears to be a natural athlete. His coordination is above-average for the position and his athletic motions come with ease. Wilson plays tall in the pocket, much more than his listed height, but he instantly shrinks to size when he’s on the run. As a natural football runner, Wilson is agile and uses his scat-back frame to make defenders miss. He can flawlessly change directions without compromising his speed and it’s makes him a consistent threat to leave the pocket when plays break down. As a quarterback, Wilson’s small stature is a topic of scrutiny, however his athleticism at the position ranks amongst the class’ elite (i.e. Robert Griffin).
Likely receiving help from his baseball background, Wilson has very impressive arm strength. And given his limited size, one can attest Wilson’s powerful arm as literal strength in his arm. Wilson can complete passes from short to long distances with general ease. When compared to other passers in his class, Wilson may not have the amount of distance in a max-effort throw, but it’s plenty enough to be successful in the NFL. Wilson is a very accurate passer and rarely misses his short/intermediate throws. Precision passes on slants and outs are performed with an easy touch that leads the receiver to the right place and puts the ball in a catchable spot. Given his height, Wilson stays mobile in the pocket, using quick feet to open his sight paths and move effectively in the pocket. Wilson can sometimes lead himself out of the pocket, but he keeps a passer’s mentality and looks to pass as primary option. He’s very effective in play-action with consistent and accurate delivery of passes thrown on the run.
Wilson is a pure passer with great technique and comfortable mechanics. His quick feet create a prompt dropback and firm grasp of the pocket. As a shorter passer, Wilson plays tall in the pocket, retaining balance by staying light on his feet and moving ever so slightly in order to create his passing sights. Wilson is very alert in the pocket, adjusting to pressure and finding a hole in the pocket to either reset his feet, or take off on a scramble. After plenty of valuable experience, Wilson isn’t easily rattled by pressure, as he is confident in his abilities to make plays outside of the pocket. Wilson delivers with a powerful overhand motion. After playing behind an NFL-sized offensive line, Wilson is accustomed to high trajectory throws and he makes them effortlessly. Wilson puts great velocity on his passes with a very crisp and quick release. As a thrower, Wilson is similar to that of a baseball player, but he has no mechanical issues dealing with wind-ups or slow releases. Wilson’s motions are fluid as a passer with close to flawless mechanics.
Wilson’s presence in the pocket isn’t exactly orthodox, but it’s effective. Wilson can sometimes side-step in the pocket to better position himself to make a throw, but it’s a technique that’s executed usually under pressure. All the while, Wilson is patient in the pocket and he never appears to mismanage a situation. Despite his size, Wilson owns the pocket with poise and confidence that he can put a ball on a rope. Wilson can throw to any spot on the field, typically on a dime, but his anticipation throws will need to improve slightly at the next level. Throughout his collegiate career, Wilson has had more than enough experience as a pass-first quarterback playing behind a sizeable offensive line. Wilson’s decision making is not a concern, as he is experienced at making effective pre-snap reads. Wilson will have no trouble learning a playbook and settling in an offense, as he has an elite knowledge of the game and comprehends plays with ease.
The only outstanding knock on Russell Wilson’s game and prospectus as an NFL quarterback is his height. From a talent standpoint as a pure quarterback, Wilson ranks up there with the other quarterbacks in his class. Once a two-sport athlete of both baseball and football, Wilson was drafted in 2010 by the Colorado Rockies. However, before being drafted into the MLB, Wilson found early success as a redshirt freshman when he earned First Team All-ACC honors–the first freshman to ever earn such accolades. Wilson would go on to play great at NC State before transferring to Wisconsin (baseball reasons) for his final year of eligibility. Wilson didn’t miss a beat in Wisconsin, earning Big Ten Quarterback of the Year honors. As a passer, Wilson has solid mechanics with a powerful overhand motion that comes with a high trajectory and quick release. With the ability to place incredible zip on his passes, in combination with above-average accuracy, Wilson has the arm of a professional quarterback. Wilson also possesses unique athleticism that equips him with quick feet and very impressive top-end speed for his position. Although drawing on his speed after checking through his reads, Wilson is a playmaker as a runner. With a compact frame and core strength, Wilson is tough and agile in the open field. When in the pocket, Wilson remains poised and comfortable. Often times Wilson will use his quick feet to move just outside of the pocket rather than stepping up–using the manuever to reset his feet and set his eyes. Given his time in two major football conferences, Wilson has respectable experience under his belt as a collegiate passer. Wilson excelled in Wisconsin as a senior, but he was blocked by an NFL-style offensive line and backed by one of the best rushing attacks in the nation. To go along with his impressive passing skills and athleticism, Wilson is a leader on and off the field. He’s a mature young man with a history of academic accolades and the role of a captain. During a process that is often times difficult for a player making the leap, Wilson is well-prepared. He will undoubtedly face adversity in the beginning of his career due to height/size restrictions, but given the opportunity, Wilson will rise to the occassion and likely surprise people.