“A Reach in the Third Round”: How Russell Wilson Compares to the 2012 Rookie Quarterback Class


Nov 11, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) passes the ball during the 1st half against the New York Jets at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-US PRESSWIRE

Faced with the boredom associated with the Seahawks’ bye week I played with some statistics, as I am wont to do, in order to gauge how our fearless leader Russell Wilson compares to the other rookie quarterbacks in the NFL. This is a banner year for the rookie quarterback with studs like Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III as well as two other first rounders who are starting for their teams in Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden. In order to see how Wilson stacked up I decided to combine and average the statistics of the four 1st round quarterbacks to create a hypothetical quarterback named “Brandrew Griffehill III” to whom I compare Wilson’s performance. Before we jump in, a couple of housekeeping things. Firstly, I’m aware that “Brandrew Griffehill III” is an utterly terrible fake name, but I challenge you to make something coherent out of the four names above. Secondly, because the four rookie quarterbacks discussed in comparison to Wilson have all had their byes they have only started 9 games each instead of ten. As a result I have only used rate stats in this comparison in order to avoid being misleading. Thirdly, I have not included any rushing statistics but it should be noted that Griffin and Luck have both been exceptional rushing quarterbacks and Wilson does lag in this area compared to the field. Lastly, I am not including anything Tannehill does tonight against Buffalo. That being said let’s take a look at the comparison.


QB Rating

Yards Per Game

TD Percentage

INT Percentage

Yards Per Attempt

Completion Percentage

Russell Wilson







Brandrew Griffehill III







A quick look at that table shows that Wilson has been decidedly more effective than our fictional aggregate of 2012 rookie quarterbacks. Wilson has a significantly superior passer rating and completion percentage, suggesting better accuracy than his fellow rookies. The statistic that jumps off the page is the fact that Wilson is throwing touchdowns (5.9%) more than twice as often as other rookie QBs, the importance of which goes without saying. Where Wilson falters is in the yards per game category, but that is mitigated by the fact he is throwing for more yards per attempt. This shows that Wilson’s uninspiring yardage totals are simply a result of part he plays in Seattle’s run heavy offense. The other problematic stat here for Wilson is his interception percentage. To give a frame of reference Eli Manning’s career INT percentage is 3.3% so this is the sort of territory we are talking about. If anything Wilson’s fellow rookies have their INT percentage deflated by Robert Griffin III’s freakish 1.1% mark, which is unlikely to be sustainable. Wilson could stand to throw a couple less interceptions, but to be honest that feels like nit-picking.

This is a silly little exercise but what it demonstrates is that Wilson has more than held his own in his rookie season so far. I am the first to admit that I wanted to see the starting job go to Flynn this off-season but apparently the guys whose job it is to make these decisions are better at it than I am. Shocking. Although Wilson has had his frustrating moments, it is apparent he is making an exceedingly smooth transition to the NFL. In most years he would be in serious consideration for Offensive Rookie of the Year and one of the biggest stories in the league. I’ll happily settle for the quiet effectiveness we are seeing so far.