The opinions and analysis contained in this feature represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the thoughts and opinions of the Seahawks’ coaching staff and personnel department.
Already selected in the Major League Baseball draft by the Colorado Rockies, and about to be selected in the NFL Draft. Productive passer in two programs with diverse offensive systems. Led the nation last season with a 191.78 passer rating. Bright, personable and articulate.
What’s not to like about Russell Wilson, the quarterback at the University of Wisconsin last season who began his college career at North Carolina State?
“The only issue here is height,” said Jon Gruden, the former NFL head coach turned analyst and QB guru for ESPN.
Or in Wilson’s case, a lack of height. He is 5 feet 11, and that is short by NFL standards because the QB must be able to find passing lanes through the mass of 6-6 and 6-5 bodies who are trying to protect him and pressure him.
But then Wilson has been dealing with questions about his stature for years, so the subject – no matter how many times it was repeated – did not faze him during his Q&A session at the NFL Scouting Combine:
Q: Has the success of Saints QB Drew Brees (who is 6 feet) helped ease the situation concerning your height?
A: “I believe the height’s not a factor at all. I have great feet in the pocket. Drew Brees has unbelievable feet. I watched tons and tons of film on him, and the things he does in the pocket are just remarkable. So I truly believe the height’s really not a factor. You have to be able to understand the offense, know the whys of football, play with rhythm and timing and just be athletic. I definitely believe I’m one of the most athletic guys here, without a doubt in my mind. So I think that gives me an advantage. I have a high, quick release, which when you play with rhythm and timing, it’s hard to stop.”
Q: Have any teams talked to you about playing another position?
A: “No. No one has talked to be about a position change. All the teams here believe I can make all the throws and I’ve shown that over my career. The height’s not a factor. I definitely believe I’m a quarterback who’s athletic. You’ve got to look at guys like Drew Brees, right at 6-foot. He’s very, very athletic but has a tremendous arm, delivers the ball with obviously great accuracy, and that’s where I believe I’m striving for – to be one of the best one day.”
Q: So no teams have expressed concerns about your height?
A: “To be honest with you, nobody really has any concerns. They’ve seen me do a variety of things. I was in a West Coast style of offense when I was at N.C. State, then I went to a vertical play-action game at the University of Wisconsin. So in terms of knowledge of the game, in terms of knowing protections, in terms of concepts and stepping into a brand new huddle like I did at the University of Wisconsin, teams really know that my leadership is there, my understanding of the game and obviously my ability, as well.”
Q: What are you hoping to show teams?
A: “I think more than anything, just trying to show my leadership, the talent that I have. They’ve seen a lot of film already; they’ve done a lot of studying. And they know that I can make all the throws. So I’m just trying to reassure that I’m one of the best players, and I definitely have all the confidence in the world in myself and my ability. I believe I’ve shown that over my career.”