Originally posted on Crystal Ball Run  |  Last updated 1/13/12

When Russell Wilson went to Madison to join the Bret Bielema led Badgers this summer the senior transfer from North Carolina State was one of those players that was going to be a difference maker. Folks from ACC country, myself included, began writing Wisconsin in as the favorite to win the Big Ten while other people doubted the ability of the 5'11" kid once he faced "Big Ten defenses."

Well the season has come and gone and we all got to see what Russell Wilson could do on a football field, against "Big Ten defenses" and when he has capable players around him. Simply put, the kid is absolutely a fantastic quarterback. He helped get the Badgers to their second straight Rose Bowl, balanced out the Wisconsin attack to include two 900+ yard wide receivers to go along with Montee Ball's 1,900 yard season.

Russell Wilson's stats are there; he's got 3,175 yards for the 2011 season, boasting a 33 to 4 touchdown to interceptions ratio plus 338 yards on the ground to go with his six rushing touchdowns. Toss in his receiving touchdown and we're talking 40 total touchdowns for the kid who finished ninth in the Heisman voting this season. To go along with his Top 10 Heisman finish Wilson has the Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year award for the Big Ten, Big Ten Championship Game MVP and 3rd team All-American honors. That doesn't even include his ACC accolades folks.

Long story short on paper the kid has what it takes to get some solid looks from the NFL, well everything on paper except one thing; height.

 

The kid is 5'11" and that, for anyone who has been near him, is understood to be somewhat generous; at the combine he might lose as much as an inch when official heights are taken. That said we've mentioned his stats, the kid has a lifetime 109 to 30 touchdown to interception ratio and that is just jaw dropping considering the bulk of that work was done on an NC State team that did not have much of a running game, offensive line or true playmakers at the receiving position.

Wilson has played in two pro style offenses. He is not the spread type option or pass happy quarterback that we've seen be issues going into the NFL. Outside of Andrew Luck it is highly possible that Russell Wilson is the most accomplished, most experienced and best primed pro style quarterback to enter the draft.

The kid has been running the show since his redshirt freshman year and has been a clear leader at both of his stops along the way to the draft. At NC State from 2008 going forward this team was Russell Wilson's as he helped them navigate their ACC schedule, win games they had no business winning and giving defensive coordinators nightmares as he wiggled his way out of pressures and found receivers down the field.

At Wisconsin the act continued and the most telling sign in all of this was not his on field production but rather his quick rise to the leadership role on the team and his quick comprehension of the playbook. His teammates voted him as their leader after just spending summer and a fall camp with them. He commanded the offense of Paul Chryst after just a summer in the scheme. Wilson won that starting job out right and never looked back, gaining the support of the team and the coaching staff through his work ethic and his actual ability.

On the field he's capable of making all of the throws. The benefit of Wilson spending five seasons in a pro style scheme is the amount of tape on the kid making just about any of the throws scouts want to see a quarterback make and from everywhere on the field. We've seen him operate in the pocket, sitting in there to take a shot and throw deep and intermediate routes. We've seen Wilson on the roll out stretching the field to both his right and left. Wilson understands going through progressions, dumping the ball off to his backs when there is nothing there and waiting until the last second for his crosser to clear the linebacker.

We also know Russell Wilson can throw on the run, not just on the roll out but when a play breaks down, when nothing is there, he can move around and avoid the rush to let someone downfield get a shot at a play. Wilson has thrown the dig, the skinny post, the slant, deep out. He's thrown back to the middle of the field after rolling to the sideline and he's done it with solid command.

This is the type of player that you talk about and he does everything that you're looking for in a quarterback and is athletic enough to help his offensive linemen out should they make a mistake. A guy that's been pro style his entire collegiate career, who has been successful every season, solid touchdown to interception ratio, plenty of wins as a starter and a true leader on the football field.

Except he's not tall enough to be taken serious as a legitimate NFL prospect.

No questions about his arm or his intelligence or his quarterbacking ability. No problem with Wilson taking snaps from the center. No questions about his footwork or his work ethic. Not even any issues about how he would handle solid competition because he's done it in two difference leagues, both BCS conferences.

Nope, just an issue about his height.

We'll see what happens to the kid from Virginia as he gets primed for the Senior Bowl where he looks to impress folks. Russell Wilson has told the Rockies no, he's casting his lot in with the folks behind the NFL shield because, even given his baseball success and relatively high draft place, Wilson is a football player. He's given plenty to the game in his five year career, let's hope he's got something left in the tank for the league.

As a true believer in All Russell Wilson Everything at least we should be seeing him play in the Senior Bowl and get a shot in the preseason to make something happen.

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