PFF ranked the top 101 players of the 2010s. Coming in at 33 was Russell Wilson. This seems completely disrespectful for a QB that has carried his team to two Superbowls, and consistently been in the MVP conversation. Wilson has been overlooked and undervalued, seemingly forever. Whether that was getting kicked out of the starting job at NC State, sliding to 75th overall (3rd round) in the 2012 draft or now being ranked behind Matt Ryan on the top 101 players of the decade. Wilson has also NEVER received a vote for MVP. This has been added to by the recent revelation that the Seahawks discussed trading Wilson before the 2018 NFL draft, however, this may be overblown and a team should always look into options, but if they were actually trying to trade him, it would have been a BIG mistake. Wilson has won a Superbowl and made it to another, has a career passer rating of 101.4 (per Pro football Reference), that’s second in the history of the NFL, only behind Aaron Rodgers (needed 1500 pass attempts to qualify). To rate him behind Matt Ryan is ridiculous, even behind Peyton Manning as he retired 2016 and was a shell of his former self at the end. Brady, Brees, Rodgers and Wilson are 4 QBs that have been in a league of their own for the 2010 decade, even with other positions included and future Hall of Famers (such as Aaron Donald and Julio Jones), all 4 QBs should be in the top 10 and no other QBs should come close in the rankings for the last decade. So why is Wilson underrated?
In 2008, Wilson joined NC State as a two-sport athlete (football and baseball). In his freshman year, Wilson threw 17TDs to only 1INT passing for almost 2000yds. A positive freshman year at NC State ended in him being the first ACC freshman QB to be named first-team-all-conference. After another great year despite his team being decimated by injury, Wilson was primed for his Junior year in 2010. With his main weapons being WRs Owen Spencer and Jarvis Williams along with RB Mustafa Greene (only Spencer even made it to the NFL), Wilson somehow carried his team to it’s joint 2nd highest win total in school history at 9-4. This included Wilson rushing for 9TDs to add to the 28 he threw through the air.
However, commitment to playing baseball was seen as detrimental by then head coach Tom O’Brien and Wilson felt forced to transfer to Wisconsin. This is where Wilson set the world on fire. Leading a team that had NFL talent around him including James White, Kevin Zeitler and Travis Frederick, the Badgers went 11-3 and won the inaugural Big Ten Championship game over Michigan State (42-39). Wilson threw for 2TDs in the game with 0INTs, already showing his ability in big games. Russell Wilson started a run of QBs entering the draft after a monster season and gaining high ratings, Wilson’s rating in 2011 was 191.8, that’s still 6th all-time with all above being 2016 onwards. It was at this point, that Wilson entered the draft.
With a college career which showed great talent and winning ability, Wilson should have been a day 1 pick. His weaknesses were his size, at 5ft 11in 204 pounds, and that he was sacked the 3rd most per pass attempt in college football (in 2011) which might show poor pocket awareness. However, his accuracy, decision making, and mobility are top quality. Therefore, Wilson can make the throws and will throw to the right guy and his mobility can allow him to shift easily in the pocket and escape to avoid hits. He should not have fallen outside of round 1. However, this is hindsight and after Andrew Luck’s college career as well as the excitement factor of RG3, there is no shame in taking them over Wilson at the time. But Ryan Tannehill (8th overall), Brandon Weeden (22nd overall) and Brock Osweiler (57th overall) is disrespectful to Wilson (75th overall). As said in the film Draft Day, you’ve got to find a player’s something, “Then figure out if it matters or not”. Size doesn’t matter as much as accuracy or decision making and it has shown in the NFL.
Second year, Wilson led the Seahawks to a Superbowl win over Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos (43-8). Whilst the Superbowl win may have been on the back of the Legion of Boom defense, Wilson showed his worth with 10 unanswered points in the NFC Championship game against hated divisional rivals the San Francisco 49ers. Add to this, that no O-lineman started for the whole season, Only J R Sweezy started over 13 games (15). For a young QB, no O-line continuity can destroy a career but instead Wilson went to and won a Superbowl. The next year he returned to the Superbowl … and Malcolm Butler happened. But in those Superbowls, he battled Peyton Manning (2013/14) and Tom Brady (2014/15). He went up against the best and came away 1-1. This is before mentioning the NFC Championship comeback against the Packers in 2014/15 and that his receiver group has consisted of Doug Baldwin and others until last year. This is whilst standing behind a practically invisible O-line that forces Wilson to use every bit of his mobility every single snap. Yet, Wilson has never missed a game, making him one of, if not the most, durable QB in the league. He slides to avoids hits when he must and lives to play another down. When he throws the ball, it is delivered on time to the right place that leads to the 2nd best TD to interception rate (3.34:1 need 1500 pass attempts). Every year, Wilson has made the playoffs with his Seahawks team. Once Lynch left, he had no run game. The Legion of Boom disintegrated, and the defense has been below par recently and the O-line has been offensively bad for the almost his entire career. After navigating all of that, he is ranked as the 33rd best player of the decade. Consistent MVP contender, twice NFC Champion and once Superbowl champion. Was underrated at NC State, overlooked in the draft, and seemingly still disrespected in the NFL. Whilst may personal allegiances lie elsewhere in the NFL, there is no QB (Mahomes and Watson are close) that I would want for the next 5-10 years.