Comparing Russell Wilson and Drew Brees as NFL Quarterbacks

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Comparing Russell Wilson and Drew Brees as NFL Quarterbacks
Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

When the Seahawks drafted Russell Wilson in April's draft, the main question brought up was whether his height would be detrimental to his success in the NFL.

When the critics derided Wilson for being too short, Wilson's supporters would often cite Drew Brees as an example of why he would succeed in the league.

Thus far Wilson and the Seahawks stand at 4-3 while Brees and the Saints are a paltry 1-4. But the comparisons aren't just about 2012, it's about their size.

Size is the only thing the two quarterbacks have in common, as Wilson is listed at 5'11", while Brees is listed at 6'0". I say listed due to the fact that both players look even shorter than that.

Their playing styles, however, are wildly different. While Brees is primarily a pocket passer who uses his mobility to get away from defenders, Wilson is a lot more mobile. Not only is he more likely to throw on the run, he holds defenses accountable for his scrambles from the pocket.

For his career, Brees only has 562 yards on the ground. His biggest rushing season came in 2002, when he rushed for 130 yards. None of those yards have come on designed runs, they're usually scrambles when the pocket collapses and Brees has to run to get any kind of positive yardage on the play or risk getting sacked.

Wilson on the other hand is athletic enough to have plays in the Seahawks playbook to take advantage of his speed and athleticism. Through Seattle's first seven games of the season, Wilson has 119 yards on 35 attempts.

While some of those attempts did come from running away from pressure, others were plays designed by Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who would utilize Tarvaris Jackson the same way while the two were together in Seattle last season and in previous seasons in Minnesota.

A designed play-action bootleg from Wilson, something you will never see from Drew Brees

Brees' offense is also fundamentally different from Wilson's offense. Brees not only has control of his offense, but it's also a pass-first outfit. Wilson's offense is a power-running offense where Marshawn Lynch is the centerpiece.

This is a bit similar to Brees' offenses in San Diego under former head coach Marty Schottenheimer, when Brees had to lean on LaDainian Tomlinson, but even San Diego's offense at that time averaged 488 pass attempts per season, while Wilson and the Seahawks are on pace for 398 pass attempts this season.

Look past the size and you will see that Russell Wilson and Drew Brees are two completely different quarterbacks with completely different skills and abilities. Despite that, there is one thing Wilson can do with the Seahawks that will put him more in common with Brees.

 

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