- Mike Sando, NFL Insider
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Someone recently asked whether I thought ESPN's Ron Jaworski would list the San Francisco 49ers' Colin Kaepernick or the Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson higher in his ongoing quarterback rankings for 2013.
We now have our answer after Jaworski revealed Wilson in the No. 12 spot. Kaepernick will rank somewhere in the top 11.
2013 Jaworski QB Rankings
Here's what Jaworski said about Wilson on SportsCenter:
The second-highest rookie on my quarterback big board comes in at No. 12 -- Russell Wilson. I thought the Seahawks brought him along beautifully. They gave him more volume as the season progressed. And when the playoffs came, Wilson was ready for the challenge.
Both quarterbacks have strong arms, but Kaepernick is bigger and his arm is stronger. I suspect those distinctions could have helped Kaepernick rank higher on Jaworski's list. Reaching the Super Bowl couldn't have hurt, either.
Through the 16-game regular season schedule, Wilson threw the fewest passes of any NFL starter. What showed up quickly was how well he threw the deep ball. The winning touchdown against the Patriots was a big-time throw.
One attribute that separates Wilson from many other quarterbacks is his light, quick, athletic feet. Believe me, that’s a hard throw [referring to a highlight showing Wilson throwing across his body to complete a pass while running away from pressure against the Miami Dolphins]. The defense tactically won on this play. It was a triple A gap blitz. That third blitzer, the safety, cannot be accounted for. Wilson has to move to have any chance. That’s as impressive as it gets. And how about the accuracy, running to his left. There’s a reason for that: proper mechanics. Look how Wilson squared his shoulders to deliver the football. Even though he was moving, he didn’t fall away from the throw.
The ability to avoid pressure, maintain his downfield focus and throw the ball accurately was a constant throughout his rookie season. There were times he ran, and that caused problems for the defense. But he was not a runner. Most importantly, he got down, preventing the kind of hits that negatively impact long-term availability.
The game that showed me Wilson can be a top 10 quarterback was the NFC divisional playoff game against Atlanta. The Seahawks trailed 20-0 at the half. All he did was lead four, second-half touchdown drives in which he was 14-of-16 for 241 yards.
That says it all right there. It’s why throwing from the pocket remains the No. 1 trait for high-level quarterback play, regardless of the player’s athleticism and mobility. It’s the reason Wilson has a chance to be a very good quarterback over a long period of time. He throws it very well from the cradle. The more I studied him, the more I liked his future."
Indianapolis' Andrew Luck will be the only 2012 rookie quarterback ranked higher than Wilson. Robert Griffin III was ranked 13th. Wilson entered last season with little fanfare and struggled for a few weeks. He was ascending by season's end. I would expect Wilson to rank even higher on Jaworski's list one year from now. That could be true for Kaepernick as well, but first we need to see how high Jaworski ranked him.