All 32 NFL teams passed on him (at least twice) in the 2012 NFL draft. If teams were allowed to redraft, he would certainly be selected in the first—not third—round.
Before the start of the 2012 season, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was compared to Peyton Manning, at least in the way he prepares.
Dan Pompei of National Football Post wrote the following about Wilson:
I’m told in July he often was the only football person at the Seahawks facility, as he showed up every day at 6:30 a.m. to watch tape. Wilson has a little Peyton Manning in him. In fact, he consulted with Manning before the draft, as well as Eli Manning, Drew Brees and Philip Rivers. Wilson also visited with Colts quarterback coach Clyde Christensen, who previously coached Peyton Manning. Christensen shared Peyton’s notes with Wilson, and they were similar to the kind of notes Wilson takes. Wilson keeps a diary of every practice on an Excel worksheet."
After the season, he was compared to Manning as well. Wilson threw a total of 26 touchdown passes, which tied Manning for the rookie record.
As a rookie, Wilson was solid, but not spectacular, in the first half of the season. In his first eight games, he completed 61.4 percent of his pass attempts, threw 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions and averaged 6.98 yards per pass attempt. His quarterback rating during that span was 82.4.
In the second half of the season, he was not just solid—he was spectacular. Wilson completed 67.2 percent of his pass attempts, threw 16 touchdowns to only two interceptions and averaged 9.03 yards per attempt. In addition, he had a league-best 120.3 passer rating during that span.
As a dual-threat quarterback, Wilson even ran the ball better in the second half, as he posted a 6.2 yards-per-carry average and scored all four of his touchdowns in the second half of the year.
Wilson finished the year with 489 rushing yards, which set the franchise's single-season record for rushing yards by a quarterback. His total also ranked him third in the league among quarterbacks behind Washington's Robert Griffin III and Carolina's Cam Newton.
In his final five games of the season, Wilson scored a minimum of 22 fantasy points four times. The one exception was the team's 58-0 rout of the Cardinals when Wilson threw only 13 pass attempts.
With 259 fantasy points in 2012, Wilson finished 11th among quarterbacks and only four points out of the top 10, behind Matthew Stafford. Interestingly enough, Stafford (727 pass attempts) threw the ball almost twice as much as Wilson (393).
To help Wilson, the Seahawks have a strong defense and running game.
The Seahawks ranked first in the NFL in scoring defense and fourth in total defense. Their rushing offense ranked third in the NFL. Of course, a defense that can make stops helps Wilson and the offense get more possessions, and a powerful rushing attack helps keep opposing defenses honest.
By trading for Percy Harvin, one of the league's most dynamic wide receivers, it will be even more difficult for opposing defenses to slow down Wilson and the Seahawks this year.
Although I expect Seattle to maintain balance on offense, there is little doubt that Wilson will throw more, perhaps much more, than the 393 attempts he had as a rookie. Even a jump to 500 attempts would have ranked him 19th in the NFL last season.
Based on average draft position (ADP) from Fantasy Football Calculator, Wilson is the ninth quarterback off the board and is going in the seventh round of 12-team drafts, on average.
By waiting to draft someone like Wilson later, you can load up on running backs (and wide receivers) earlier in the draft and still get strong production out of your quarterback if you land Wilson.
Fantasy Strength of Schedule
Based on the cumulative fantasy points allowed by their opponents from Week 1 to Week 16, Wilson has the league's 16th-most favorable schedule among quarterbacks.
Projection: (Passing) 340/515 Comp./Att., 4,172 Yards, 30 TDs, 10 INTs; (Rushing) 442 Yards, 4 TDs