Futures: Studying the Asterisk (My pre-draft analysis of Russell Wilson)

Photo by Seth Youngblood.

Photo by Seth Youngblood.

I’m going to show you why Wilson has NFL starter potential and why the 6-foot-0 Drew Brees is a good template for how an NFL team can win with Wilson.

Note: This is a bit of blog housecleaning on my part. If you’ve subscribed to my blog for more than two years, odds are likely you’ve read this piece. If not, I recommend it. 

I’m fascinated by the underdog, exceptions to the rule, and ideas that run counter to convention. I believe there’s merit to the idea that once something in life becomes conventional, it’s no longer the safest path to success. So I think it’s only fitting that I make my Football Outsiders debut with a column devoted to a player Aaron Schatz labeled “The Asterisk,” in FO’s 2012 Lewin Career Forecast.

Wisconsin quarterback (by way of N.C. State) Russell Wilson has the highest LCF score of any quarterback –- including Robert Griffin –- since the inception of this projection tool. There are two reasons Schatz labeled Wilson as “The Asterisk”: the fact that Wilson transferred programs between his junior to senior years, and the fact that he stands just 5-foot-11 (if rounding up). The odds of an NFL team drafting him within the first three rounds seems low, especially considering past history.

But the Futures column is about studying on-field behaviors more than statistical results. I document my obsession with positional technique, strategic execution, and athleticism in my annual publication, The Rookie Scouting Portfolio. I’ll be analyzing players based on my RSP methods from the opening kick of the college season through the NFL draft in this column.

This week, I’m going to show you why Wilson has NFL starter potential and why the 6-foot-0 Drew Brees is a good template for how an NFL team can win with Wilson. There’s a catch though: I’m not going to illustrate my points with Wilson’s Wisconsin tape. The Badgers offensive line is bigger than all but four NFL teams, and its ground game gave Wilson luxuries as a senior that he didn’t have as frequently at N.C. State. I’m drawing my analysis from Wilson’s junior year with the Wolfpack versus North Carolina, Virginia Tech, and Florida State -– three ACC powers with a recent history of good NFL prospects on the defensive side of the ball.

Read the rest at Football Outsiders

Categories: 2012 NFL Draft, Evaluations, Futures at Football Outsiders, Matt Waldman, Players, QuarterbackTags: , , , , , ,

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