Russell Wilson: A Quarterback Solution in Washinton’s Back Yard?

As the 2012 NFL combine wraps up and the rumor mills begin churning new rumors out every .7 seconds, everyone wants to know what their team is going to do.

On an almost daily basis, I go back and forth with editor in chief, Rajan, as to who is going where and what rumors are fresh. The debating comes easy, because in our case, the Washington Redskins are the kings of speculation. The ‘smoke and mirrors’ approach of Mike Shanahan only adds fuel to the fire.

By now, or at least by the time this article has been posted, most of you will have heard the latest rumors surrounding Robert Griffin III from Baylor University. The thought of our Skins giving up their first three picks in 2012 and first round pick next year is tough to stomach, but if RG3 turns out to be the great quarterback and savior that most seem to have labeled him already, then so be it.

However, as I have done before, I want to look at a scenario that doesn’t involve Peyton Manning, RG3, or any other free agent who’s been linked to this team. Instead, I want to shake things up and look at a player whom I have followed closely through college and have a great deal of bias towards.

Having grown up in the famed ‘757’, I was routinely asked to play against some of the best competition high school had to offer. There was one player, though, whom I competed against in football (he beat me), basketball (he beat me), and baseball (yeah, he beat me in this too); he hailed from Richmond and had scouts drooling over his potential. He elected to attend NC State and eventually transferred to Wisconsin, where he only continued to make a bigger name for himself.

I am talking, of course, about quarterback Russell Wilson.

Before you grimace, let’s look at what we know about the Redskins and how Wilson could potentially fit.

We’ll start with Mike Shanahan. The head coach has routinely said that a team does not necessarily need an all-world quarterback to win in the NFL. Sure, having Tom Brady or Big Ben helps, but you don’t have to look any further than the 49ers to know that a good team is made up of a couple things. For starters, a good defense goes a long ways. Second, a team that puts pieces around their quarterback and puts him in a position to succeed generally succeeds as well.  Plus, that QB can’t turn the ball over close to two times a game (here’s looking at you Rex Grossman). With the right pieces and a good defense you can win the majority of your games, as the 49ers have shown.

Or, how about taking a look at the Ravens, and what they’ve built their identity around: good defense, pieces on the offensive side of the ball, and a quarterback that doesn’t turn it over. Result? A dropped pass and missed field goal from the Super Bowl.

Now for Wilson and how he fits what the Redskins are trying to do. In the Shanahan offense, one that likes to get the quarterback out of the pocket, Kyle and Mike are looking for a quarterback who can move, throw on the run, and is highly intelligent. Those of us who have watched Wilson over the past few years know he fits this bill. ESPN recently wrote an article covering Wilson and made note to the fact that he would be one of the top quarterbacks in the league if it was not for his size. Sure, he stands 5’11, but so does that guy out in New Orleans, who throws for 5,000 yards almost every season.

It is well documented that Wilson has all the tools. A former professional baseball player, he has a cannon of an arm and is extremely accurate. Just look at what he did at NC State. Not only did he set an NCAA record for most attempts without an interception, but he was named first team ALL-ACC as a redshirt freshman. Not bad for a 5’11 quarterback who was playing behind one of the largest lines in all of football (including the NFL).

After his transfer to Wisconsin, Wilson continued to impress and took the college football world by storm in leading the Badgers to the Rose Bowl. His senior season stats are more than impressive and remind many of a former Big Ten (or 12 now) quarterback. Yeah, that same one that stands 5’11 who plays in New Orleans. The Wisconsin quarterback torched the league for 33 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions. He completed over 70% of his passes and if it wasn’t for a couple of tough losses, would have found himself in the middle of the Heisman race.

It shouldn’t take a scientist or an NFL expert to figure out that Wilson is a gamer. An extremely high character guy who has won everywhere he has been should garner interest from football’s best. No, I am not Mel Kiper, an NFL expert, or a mock draft specialist, but I am a biased fan toward a kid that routinely beat my teams in high school and has since beat everyone in his way. In continuing the Shanahan way in DC, why not take a look at a quarterback who would fit like a glove? Washington yearns for a sports hero, outside of Alex Ovechkin. How about taking a look at someone who is in your own back yard?

Afraid he will settle? In that same ESPN article I mentioned earlier, Wilson broke curfew in order to learn the Wisconsin system late at night on the 50 yard line. He worked tirelessly on his footwork and studying the verbiage of a new system.

I am not saying draft Wilson at #6 and make him the starter from day 1. You can take a deep breath. I do not want to cause panic and heartburn for you all. Nor am I saying don’t go after Griffin; the kid is an unreal talent and would be a great fit in DC.

I am merely shedding light on an individual who has not gotten enough publicity in this NFL world. Has he won everywhere he’s been? Check. Does he have all the physical tools? Check. Is he high character? Check. He would cost the Redskins a mid-round draft pick at most, and would allow the foundation to continue to be built.  Another solid draft, a couple of free agents, and a quarterback to hold the fort down for a year and you are looking at an interesting team going forward.

Is Wilson the answer? I do not know. Is he going to be an NFL starter for years to come? Again, your guess is as good as mine. However, having competed against and watched him closely throughout the years, I know he won’t settle until the NFL gives him a chance and I fully expect him to make the most of any opportunity. In a town desperate for a winner, why not take a chance on one of your own.


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5 Responses to “Russell Wilson: A Quarterback Solution in Washinton’s Back Yard?”

  1. David says:

    Wilson went to high school at Collegiate in Richmond and was in the same year as I (who didn’t go there) and many of my friends (who did). My best friend was nose guard for Collegiate’s rival school, so we’ve all been watching him a long time.

    He’s the real deal. He has serious arm strength that lets him get it way downfield despite his height, but its his legs and his head that are the real assets. He can RUN like few quarterbacks (who can do anything else).

    Moreover, he’s smart and a great guy. Everyone who knew him more personally than I did absolutely raves about how hard he works and how genuine he is. He’s a huge athletic talent, a proven winner, and a very smart guy (both football intelligence and academics).

    You never know anything for sure when it comes to NFL prospects. But if ESPN is blowing up over this guy taking the league by storm in a couple years, a lot of people in Richmond VA, Raleigh NC, and Madison WI won’t be surprised at all.

  2. 007 says:

    Yeah, O.K. He’s short, but fast with excellent arm strength. Can he catch a pass? And can he throw a Slot-back option?

  3. Patrick Rice says:

    I absolutely agree with everything you said David. I played in the Prep league against him and he is one of the more natural athletes I ever got to play against. I have no doubt that he will succeed in the NFL. Whoever takes him, surely they will won’t be disappointed. He can make all the throws.

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  5. Bode says:

    I think that they should take him as rg3s backup if possible and maybe keep him as a third string with a more veteran guy like byron leftwitch as the first backup.Russell could be great trade bait after showing him off in preseason…..I think if we don’t take him some smart team will…like Gbay,NO,NE,SF…..shit he needs to be a Skin…..it’s a nobrainer