Sizing up Russell Wilson with Jon Gruden

September, 3, 2012
9/03/12
12:52
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The final teams to name starting quarterbacks for the 2012 NFL season went to extremes in doing so.

The Arizona Cardinals went with the 6-foot-6 John Skelton. No current starter is taller.

The Seattle Seahawks went with the 5-foot-11 Russell Wilson. No current starter is shorter.

Quarterback height probably isn't going to decide the Seahawks-Cardinals matchup at University of Phoenix Stadium in Week 1.

But as ESPN's Jon Gruden pointed out in the "2012 QB Camp" pre-draft installment above, Wilson's stature serves as a convenient explanation for any on-field failures Wilson might suffer. Wilson's height will be an issue until he proves it's not one.

The chart, provided by Jon Kramer of ESPN Stats & Information, breaks down starters by height. The listings reflect rounded heights in some cases. Wilson, for example, stands 5-10 and 5/8 inches. Drew Brees and Michael Vick are both 6 feet tall. They join Wilson as the only starters shorter than 6-2.

Gruden, speaking recently during a "Monday Night Football" media conference call, offered additional thoughts Wilson:
"I think the surprising thing that goes along with Russell Wilson being a starter, is they went out and gave Matt Flynn a big contract, where some people probably felt Flynn was the guaranteed starter, given the money he was given. But if you look at the body of work, what Russell Wilson did in college and what Matt Flynn did in college, it's to me not even close.

"I haven't met anybody who has been a team captain at quarterback on two major college teams in backtoback seasons and taken their teams to Bowl games. When Russell Wilson walks in the room, you feel his presence. He has an incredible vibe about him that's outstanding for an offensive football team and a team. And I think he can play it.

"The only downside to this kid is he's just not tall in some people's eyes, and I'm just happy that he's proved the critics wrong so far and I'm pulling for him. I really like this guy."

Convention says Wilson will struggle because he's a rookie, perhaps even imperiling Pete Carroll's coaching tenure following consecutive 7-9 seasons. Others think Wilson can put Seattle over the top in the division.

We can say this pretty safely: Wilson enters the 2012 season as the most pivotal unproven player in the NFC West.

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