As noted in the earlier blog post, Russell Wilson will be revealed tonight somewhere in numbers 11-20 of the NFL Network’s countdown of the Top 100 Players of 2014.
But that is hardly the only ranking/discussion of Wilson out there today.
First, the NFL Network has this piece on whether some of its analysts consider Wilson a top five QB in the league.
The general consensus seems to be that it’s a little too soon to crown Wilson as one of the best in the NFL but that he could get there someday. I think the Seahawks will point to the Super Bowl title and Wilson’s role in it — remember Pete Carroll saying he thought Wilson played just about a perfect game in the Super Bowl? — and take their chances.
Then there is also this ESPN Insider piece today from Mike Sando rating every starting QB in the NFL. Wilson’s come in tied for eighth behind Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger and tied with Matt Ryan, Eli Manning and Tony Romo.
Writes Sando on Wilson:
Everyone likes Wilson. But not everyone loves him, especially when it comes to projecting how a 5-foot-10 QB would fare without a dominant defense and running game on his side. Still, Wilson came in ahead of Colin Kaepernick, Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III, three other young, mobile QBs.
“I love Russell Wilson,” one GM said. “I like him for the intangibles, which Kaepernick has not displayed. I have Wilson as a three and think he might ascend to a two. I don’t think he will ever be a one. Kaepernick has a chance to be a one, but he also has a chance to be a three or a four.”
Evaluators across the board lauded Wilson for his decision-making, both with the football and in avoiding big hits when scrambling.
Still, some said they wanted to see more from Wilson in terms of decision-making and downfield accuracy from within the pocket. “He has a curl-flat wide open and cannot see it, so he spins out and rips it 40 yards downfield to make an amazing big play,” one evaluator said.
A head coach said he’d rather have Sam Bradford than Wilson purely from a talent standpoint.
As noted previously, the numbers from Wilson and Kaepernick from within the pocket are solid, but that doesn’t mean people in the league perceive them as effective pocket passers. One head coach said teams with good game plans have taken away escape routes and made Wilson struggle. Injuries at receiver and along the offensive line have not helped. “I want them to win games from the pocket at some point,” one GM said of shorter QBs. “That is what will separate Russell Wilson — besides a great ‘D’ — from the Doug Fluties of the world. Eventually, you made them beat you from the pocket and they could not do it. Maybe he ascends to the bottom of that one tier, but I see him probably more top of the second.”
The Seahawks would counter that what has already separated Wilson from the Doug Fluties of the world is a Super Bowl title in his second year.
And you can take all of these for what they’re worth, of course — again, the Seahawks will take the Super Bowl rings they just got, instead. But what stories and ratings like these also show is that, for all that Wilson has done, questions remain — at least in the eyes of those outside the VMAC, as I don’t think they exist inside — about his viability as a long-term elite QB.
Just something else to add to the narrative as the Seahawks try to repeat in 2014.