The Kansas City Chiefs addressed their need at backup quarterback during the NFL free agency period when they signed Brady Quinn, but I can’t imagine anyone in the Chiefs’ organization is really thrilled about where the quarterback position is at right now. If the team is looking for a project to develop in the mid-to-late rounds of the 2012 NFL draft a prospect to consider would be Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson.
Wilson had a spectacular season at Wisconsin, as he led the Badgers to the Rose Bowl, and prior to that he had three big years at N.C. State. Thus, this is a quarterback who has proven he can excel in a system where everything relies on him (N.C. State) and one which flows off the running game (Wisconsin).
Furthermore, Wilson has good speed, and an even better sense of where he’s at in the pocket. He’s a terrific leader, evidenced by the fact his Wisconsin teammates voted him captain right after he arrived on campus, and he’s a tremendous clutch player. Even in the Badgers’ two regular season losses, he led the team back from double-digit deficits in the fourth quarter to either tie or take the lead before the defense gave up a desperation touchdown pass. And in the final three games of his college career—Penn State for the Big Ten Leaders’ Division title, Michigan State for the Big Ten crown and Oregon in the Rose Bowl, Wilson combined to go 55-for-78 for 669 yards, and seven touchdowns against just one interception.
All this is great, but there has to be a reason why Wilson is only ranked 8th on the list of available quarterbacks. His size is the biggest concern. At 5’10”, he’s not going to be a pure dropback passer. His accuracy on the deep ball is a serious problem and even in the mid-range it’s questionable by NFL standards.
I think all of Wilson’s positive attributes make it likely he can hone his accuracy, at least on the shorter routes. And with the advent of quarterbacks like Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III, the NFL is becoming more open to the QB on the move. Above all, Kansas City isn’t looking at Wilson as a potential starter in either case, but as a #2.
Legitimate questions can be raised about whether Kansas City has more pressing needs, but if you just evaluate Wilson in a vacuum, I think he’s worthy of being a third-round pick and a positive steal at any point down the road.
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