Russell Wilson heard a lot of negativity as he prepared for the NFL Draft last April while with the Wisconsin Badgers. “Too small” was the biggest knock, and one that made many teams look elsewhere for their quarterback needs.
The Seattle Seahawks, however, rolled the dice on Wilson in the third round and stumbled into their franchise quarterback for the foreseeable future. The rookie put together a phenomenal season, but where does it rank among the greatest in Seahawks’ franchise history?
Wilson’s least impressive stat was his passing yards, throwing for “only” 3,118 yards in 2012. That ranks him 23rd in the NFL last season, and 14th all-time in franchise history. He was a long ways off the franchise record-pace set by Matt Hasselbeck in 2007 when he threw for 3,966 yards, but the low yardage total is not distressing. The Seahawks spoon-fed the offense to Wilson and didn’t really unleash him for the first month of the season. With a full season under his belt and an offseason of OTAs to continue developing, Wilson should take a run at the record in 2013.
While he didn’t throw for a lot of yards, Wilson was dazzling with his efficiency. He completed 64-percent of his passes this season, good for 8th best in the NFL this season (2nd among rookies). That is the third highest completion percentage in club history behind Hasselbeck’s 65.5-percent in 2005 and Dave Krieg‘s franchise record 65.6-percent in 1991.
Continuing his efficiency kick, Wilson posted a quarterback rating of an even 100.0, good for 6th best in the NFL among starters and second among rookies. That is the highest rating ever for a Seattle quarterback, easily surpassing the previous best of 98.2 set by Hasselbeck in 2005. Wilson didn’t get as many chances to throw the ball down the field, as evidenced by his low yardage total, but he made the most of his opportunities, reflected in his completion percentage and QB rating.
He also found the endzone with regularity. Wilson threw for 26 touchdowns this season, tying the NFL record for rookies set by Peyton Manning. That makes him tied for 9th in the NFL this season with perennially proficient passers like Eli Manning, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger for TD passes and he sits at No. 4 on the Seahawks all-time list behind Hasselbeck, who threw 28 in 2007, and Krieg twice, who set the club-record with 32 in 1984 and 27 in 1985.
The most dynamic part of Wilson’s game, however, may be his athleticism. He showed he has the ability to run with the ball and make plays with his legs, while his escapability in the pocket reminds many of Fran Tarkenton. Wilson set franchise records for quarterback rushing yards and yards per carry, gaining 489 yards on 94 rushes for an average of 5.2 yards per carry. The previous records for both were held by Rick Mirer who rushed for 343 yards averaging 5.0 yards per carry in 1993.
Wilson was able to rush for four touchdowns this season (three of them in one half against the Buffalo Bills) as well, which puts him second all-time for quarterbacks in Seattle’s history. Only Jim Zorn found the endzone more, scoring six touchdowns in 1978. Maybe if Seattle got to play Buffalo twice, Wilson would have broken that record, too?
Russell Wilson stepped in and made an immediate impact for the Seattle Seahawks last season, grabbing hold of the starting quarterback job and never letting go. Now, he’ll move forward as the franchise quarterback for Seattle and continue to make his mark in the Seahawks’ record books as he continues to make his case as one of the best to play under center in Seattle.