Size matters in the NFL.  But there are exceptions.  If Russell Wilson was 6’3” instead of 5’11”, I wouldn’t be writing this story.  He’d already be considered a young star on the rise, instead of one of the league’s best surprises in one of pro football’s smallest packages.

By today’s standards, the Seattle Seahawks rookie quarterback is supposedly too short to make an impact at the most important position in football.

Russell Wilson

But come Friday, Wilson will be the starter in the Seahawks next preseason game against Kansas City.  The former Wisconsin star who threw more than 30 touchdown passes for the Badgers last season will get a real chance to prove to the doubters that he’s big enough to make a difference.

Russell Wilson is already convincing the Seahawks, and has played well in the first two preseason games.  But his numbers: 3 touchdowns and just one interception came in the second halves of those games which during the preseason means he was probably not playing against the other teams’ best players.  Still, head coach Pete Carroll has been impressed enough to want to see how Wilson fares against starters.

Two other rookie quarterbacks, the Indianapolis Colts’ Andrew Luck and the Washington Redskins’ Robert Griffin III, have drawn most of the attention this season.  They are much taller and thus deemed more NFL ready than Russell Wilson.  And because of that they were drafted number one and number two overall in this year’s draft.

But don’t be surprised if “little” Russell Wilson, drafted in the third round, turns out to be better than both of them, and maybe even become a future Drew Brees.

I mention Brees, because at a listed height of 6’0” he along with Michael Vick is the shortest starting quarterback in the NFL.   But Brees also just set the all-time NFL passing yardage mark of nearly 5500 yards, coupled with 46 touchdowns passes last season.  In recent years no quarterback has put up better numbers than Brees.

Last year after watching a number of Wisconsin’s games and studying his career, which began at North Carolina State, it seemed clear to me that Russell Wilson was not just good but might be the nation’s top college quarterback.   Based on what I had seen to that point he certainly looked like he was better than everyone else, including RGIII and Luck.  He was poised, accurate, athletic and smart.   The only knock against him was his size.

But height wasn’t the only thing working against Wilson coming into his first NFL training camp.  Complicating things was the fact that Seattle had acquired Green Bay’s backup Matt Flynn, who just so happened to fill in for Aaron Rodgers for a game last season and in the process set several all-time Green Bay passing records.  Flynn was signed by Seattle expecting to be the starter, but while reports indicate that he has played decently, so far those same reports indicate he has not outplayed Wilson.   So true to his word, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is in fact making good on his declaration that the best man will win the job.

Yes, size matters in the NFL, but a better measure is heart and skill, which Russell Wilson appears to have as much of as anyone.

 

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  1. […] pass my “eyeball-test”.  There simply has not been a better college quarterback this year.   Based on what I’ve seen he’s been even better than Stanford’s Andrew Luck, who is considered by many to be college football’s top quarterback and the NFL’s next great […]