The Date was April 26, 2012, the time 8pm. It was in New York City, Radio City Music Hall to be precise. On that day, the NFL made it annual descent with the 2012 NFL Draft. This year was special due to the fact that multiple franchises would have the opportunity to draft franchise quarterbacks. But as much as the draft saw great players drafted to various teams, a false coronation happened.
The man being coronated would be that Andrew Luck, quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts. Now of course many people believe that Luck is a top 5 quarterback in the league. And to a certain extent they would be right. His play and his arm is beyond good, its damn near excellent. But if we are looking at the best quarterback of that draft, then unfortunately he isn’t. It isn’t Robert Griffin the Third, Ryan Tannehill, Kirk Cousins or Brandon Weeden.
Its 75th pick (12th in the third round) Russell Wilson. Now before I get cut down by every NFL fan in the league, lets look at the quarterbacks drafted alongside him in that year. Wilson is the only player in that class that not only transferred to different schools but changed his offensive scheme. At NC State, Wilson was apart of a spread offense and was dependent on his ability to escape the pocket to make plays. At Wisconsin, Wilson was a pocket passer and made more plays with his arm than with his legs. Now Luck, RG3 and others did great on their perspective teams, but none of them truly had to learn new offensive schemes. Luck ran the pro-style offense like no one had ever seen at Stanford, showing he had Peyton Manning-like skill from the pocket. RG3 showed that he was a true dual threat, especially during his last bowl game against Washington.
But how does a player like this not get drafted in the first round? For all we have said, Wilson was as good as his class in college. The reason is, and unfortunately is the seemingly permanent thought, that any quarterback under 6 feet will not work in the NFL. This was especially apparent during the 2012 ESPN NFL Draft coverage as Mel Kiper, one of the most respected NFL Draft scouts was being schooled by Monday Night Football analyst and former coach Jon Gruden.
We also have to look at another glaring fact and that’s Wilson unlike the rest of his draft mates, wasn’t thought as being a starting quarterback coming out of the draft. The Seahawks had just paid a large amount to free agent Matt Flynn. RG3, Luck, Weeden, and Tannehill were signed to be the franchise cornerstones of their teams. But if we look now, what is the current standing of these players?
Luck is still the starter, leading the 2nd best team in the AFC. RG3 went to the playoffs, got injured and hasn’t been the same since. Weeded lost a lot got dropped from the Browns and is now a backup to Tony Romo in Dallas. Tannehill is still the starter of the Dolphins but hasn’t reached the playoffs whatsoever.
What did Wilson do? Oh he only won the starting job in 2 preseason games, went to back to back Super Bowls and won one of them beating Peyton Manning.
And yet Andrew Luck is seen as the one of the men in the top 5 listing for quarterbacks, but Russell Wilson isn’t. And a lot of people will say, if you give Luck the Legion of Boom, more than likely he would win a championship too. Well if we go under that theory, Luck still wouldn’t win in my opinion because Luck has the same issue Peyton Manning has: he doesn’t know when to escape the pocket. If Luck was at Seattle and Wilson at Indy, both would make the playoffs but I believe that Wilson wouldn’t have the record that Luck has in the playoffs or the overly excessive amount of interceptions that Luck has (3 for 6, 12 interceptions).
What people need to realize is that Russell Wilson is the future of quarterbacks. While he isn’t the biggest, or the fastest, he knows how to use his size and speed to make opportunities for his teammates to get open. He also shows that despite his size, if you have the arm strength, you can be extremely dangerous in the NFL.
So while Andrew Luck is being labeled the next big great in the NFL, lets not overlook the man that runs the offense in Seattle. Lets not forget the kid that didnt get the first round buzz like Luck, RG3 or Tannehill got. The only quarterback from that class that has a Super Bowl ring. Because if you don’t look now, you’ll the future leader of the pack wears the name “Wilson” on his back.