Size: This is Wilson’s most serious issue as a prospect, and it is what will likely hurt his stock more than anything once the season ends and the grueling NFL Draft postseason begins. I would estimate his height to be about 5’10” which is about three or four inches shorter than most teams would prefer at minimum at the quarterback position. Some people will write him off because of his lack of height, but while I acknowledge it will make life significantly harder for him in the NFL I will absolutely not write him off because of it. It will certainly negatively affect his stock though, and anyone would be foolish to argue otherwise.
Arm Strength: Wilson has very good arm strength. He has great zip on passes to all levels and throws a very nice deep ball. He can make every NFL throw thanks to his very good arm strength and this is definitely one of his strongest attributes. He can absolutely rifle throws from the pocket or when he is moving outside of the pocket which makes him very dangerous.
Accuracy: Wilson’s accuracy is also very impressive. He has quality accuracy to all levels of the field whether they are short, medium or deep throws. Wilson knows when to rifle a throw down the seam and when he needs to put some touch on a pass to drop a throw into a hole between the corner and safety on the sideline. He is also very accurate on the run which makes him dangerous on the outside because if the coverage breaks down at all Wilson can find a hole to throw the ball.
Mechanics: Wilson has quality mechanics. His throwing motion is compact and quick, he has good footwork in the pocket as well as plenty of experience dropping back from center. He has good footwork on play action as well. He usually keeps his shoulders square when scrambling outside of the pocket which is critical to throwing accurate passes on the run quickly. Wilson could stand to get out from under center quicker in my opinion, particularly when handing the ball off at times. But that is a pretty ticky-tacky mechanical flaw, and can easily be coached up.
Mobility: Wilson’s mobility is pretty rare for the position because not only can he threaten defenses with his legs because of his great athleticism he has managed to develop into a great passing quarterback with great mobility rather than a great runner that can throw as well. The distinction may not be very obvious, but the ability to scramble and gain yardage with your legs is usually a crutch that prevents athletic quarterbacks from developing into good or great passers. That is certainly not the case for Wilson but that doesn’t mean he can’t rip off big runs when he gets outside of the pocket. Teams have to account for his ability to run and that is so hard to do against Wisconsin thanks to their fantastic running game as well as Wilson’s ability to stretch the field as a passer. His mobility helps him extend plays and makes him a very dangerous passer outside of the pocket.
Pre/Post Snap Reads: Wilson seems to make very good pre and post snap reads based off of what I’ve seen of him. At times at NC State he would force passes into coverage and make poor decisions when he was simply trying to throw his team into the game and keep them competitive. But at Wisconsin he has been terrifyingly efficient now that he has one of the best running games in the country helping him balance out the passing attack. He does a good job of identifying coverages pre-snap and reads defenses well once he drops back to pass. He also does a good job of reading defenses quickly after play action fakes and does a good job of making decisive decisions.
Pocket Poise: I think pocket poise is a very important quality to identify in quarterbacks and I think Wilson has pretty good poise in the pocket, especially for someone with so much athletic ability who can scramble for positive yardage. One of the few weaknesses in his game seems to be when there is pressure around him in the pocket and trash at his feet. I’m not sure why this is, but it certainly limits his ability to find throwing lanes because of his height and he can’t often scramble out of it, so it makes sense that in these situations he would be less effective than others. I think that causes him some discomfort at times, and will result in throws off of his back foot or less accurate passes than when he has a cleaner pocket, when he can side-step the rush to find a throwing lane, or when he can move outside of the pocket where he has clear vision of the field.
Intangibles: Russell Wilson’s intangibles are off the charts as far as I’m concerned because of how significant of a leader he was at NC State and because he has been able to seamlessly transition into a completely different locker room and organization and not only become a quality starter, but become a fantastic player worthy of at least some Heisman consideration as well as the leader of his new team, all in a matter of weeks and months. As I like to say “you can’t coach that” and that is as true about Wilson’s intangibles as it is with anything else. He’s a very hard worker, he’s very poised, he’s intelligent and he is just a natural leader. Yes, I think the Badgers would have been good this year even with a question mark at quarterback, but Wilson has been the guy that has not only made them great, but has made them borderline unstoppable. There is definitely something to be said for that.
Character: Wilson’s character is top notch from what I know of him and he is considered to be a very hard worker, very studious, watches a lot of film and clearly has his head on straight. Drafting him won’t be a risk as far as character is concerned.
Overall: I’m a huge fan of Wilson and even though I expected him to be a terrific quarterback for the University of Wisconsin even I couldn’t have anticipated him being this good this soon. He has absolutely shut up everyone who doubted that he could transition into the Badgers smoothly and he has not only transformed the Badgers into contenders, he has transformed them into a virtual lock for the Rose Bowl as the eventual Big 10 champions. His height is his most significant issue as a prospect, and beyond that he is a very well-rounded prospect that if he was three or four inches taller would warrant serious first or second round consideration in my opinion. He’s got plenty of upside, he just has to prove that he can overcome his lack of ideal (or even average) height. Playing behind Wisconsin’s mammoth offensive line and having this kind of success can’t hurt, and it will be interesting to see how he ultimately translates to the NFL once he gets drafted.
Projection: 3rd-4th round. Wilson has the ability of a 1st or 2nd round selection, but his height will hurt his stock and make people question how well he will transition to the NFL. I think he can make it as a NFL starter, but his height certainly poses a significant barrier between himself and success at the next level. Personally, I’ll be rooting for him. I am really looking forward to seeing him play at the Senior Bowl this year if he elects to go.