Seahawks Insider

Wilson and the 6-feet-and-under club

Post by Eric Williams on May 21, 2012 at 10:08 am with 35 Comments »
May 21, 2012 10:08 am
Former Buffalo Bills quarterback Doug Flutie. (AP file photo)

Just call Russell Wilson the incredible shrinking man.

At the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis the Wisconsin product measured in at 5-foot-10 and 5/8 inches. So you think you would round up, right? But most folks are referring to Wilson as 5-10 instead of 5-11.

So by the end of this season Wilson will be 5-9 and headed toward Spud Webb territory.

I took a look back at some of the quarterbacks who have played the game at 6-foot or under, and came up with an eclectic mix of scramblers, game managers and guys that could get it done from the pocket.

Since 1983, every Super Bowl winning quarterback except Drew Brees has stood 6′ 2″ or better.

Only five quarterbacks on NFL rosters were 6-foot or under last season – Drew Brees, Chase Daniel, Seneca Wallace, Mike Vick and Troy Smith.

Some quarterbacks who were successful at 6-1 include Bart Starr, Johnny Unitas, Dave Krieg, Jeff Blake, Jeff Garcia and Mark Brunell.

Check out the list below.

NFL Quarterbacks 6-foot-and-under

NameHeightW-LPassing yds.Comp. per.Passer rt.TDsINTYrs playedPro BowlsDrafted
Fran Tarkenton6'0''124-109-647,0005780.434226661-7893rd round
Drew Brees6'0''92-6140,74265.99428114601-present62nd round
Y.A. Tittle6'0''78-52-533,07055.274.324224848-6471st round
Sonny Jurgensen5'11''69-73-732,22457.182.625518957-7454th round
Len Dawson6'0''94-57-828,71157182.623918357-7571st round
Joe Theismann 6'0''77-4725,20656.777.416013874-8524th round
Billy Kilmer6'0''61-52-120,49553.171.615214661-7811st round
Micahel Vick6'0''53-37-117,9125684.91117201-present41st round
Doug Flutie5'10''38-2814,71554.776.3866886-05111th round
Eddie LeBaron5'9''26-52-313,3995061.410414152-63410th round
Pat Haden5'11''35-199,29653.669.6526076-8117th round
Bob Berry5'11''20-29-39,19756.477.2646465-75011th round
Ty Detmer6'0''11-146,35157.774.7343593-0309th round
Seneca Wallace5'11''6-154,80859.281.3311805-present04th round
Ted Marchibroda5'10''4-72,16944.745.3162953-5701st round
Troy Smith6'0''4-41,73451.778.58507-present05th round
Marlon Briscoe5'11''2-31,69741.662.1141368014th round

Another interesting list is the quarterbacks selected in the third round since 1998. Among these quarterbacks, only Matt Schaub, Brian Griese, Trent Edwards and Colt McCoy went on to become regular starters in the league.

Check out the list below

Quarterbacks drafted in the third round since 1998

NameYearTeamW-LPasser RatingTotal Yds.
Jonathan Quinn1998Jaguars1-560.41,161
Brian Griese1998Broncos45-3882.719,440
Brock Huard1999Seahawks0-480.3689
Giovanni Carmazzi2000Niners0-000
Chris Redman2000Ravens4-878.63,179
Josh McCown2002Cardinals13-2071.26,998
Dave Ragone2003Texans0-247.4135
Chris Simms2003Buccaneers7-969.13,117
Matt Schaub2004Falcons32-3492.217,936
Charlie Frye2005Browns7-1669.84,154
Andrew Walter2005Raiders2-752.61,919
David Greene2005Seahawks0-000
Charle Whitehurst2006Chargers1-364.6805
Brodie Croyle2006Chiefs0-1067.81,669
Trent Edwards2007Bills14-1975.46,019
Kevin O'Connell2008Patriots0-073.623
Colt McCoy2010Browns6-1574.54,309
Ryan Mallett2011Patriots0-000

Of those four, only Griese has a winning record (45-38).

And McCoy will have to hold off first round pick Brandon Weeden to remain Cleveland’s starter.

Two of them, Giovanni Carmazzi (Niners, 2000) and David Greene (Seahawks, 2005) never played a snap in the NFL.

An interesting note, third round quarterbacks drafted since 1998 together have a 132-190 (41 percent) winning percentage.

So by selecting Wilson in the third round, maybe the Seahawks are not betting on him becoming a franchise quarterback, but simply a capable backup who has the potential to be a starter in the league.

At least that’s what former Indianapolis Colts head personnel man Bill Polian said about quarterbacks selected in the third round when discussing Seattle selecting Wilson.

“He’s not going to be a starting quarterback,” Polian said about Wilson. “That’s not what you draft him to be. You draft him to be a backup quarterback who can play six games a year. And if he plays six games a year, there’s every likelihood that you’ll win four if you’ve got a good defense.

“That’s a valuable commodity in the National Football League.”

General Seahawks
Leave a comment Comments → 35
  1. I think if you list all the tall QBs drafted only a few of them became full time starters with winning records. Its just the unknown of the trying to translate college skills to NFL skills, most don’t make it to become winning starters. Wilson has earned his shot if he can’t cut it the the competition will reveal that if he can win then lets rock and roll.

  2. One inch is really no big deal, imo. If Wilson is one inch under Mike Vick (oh yeah, add that small fraction, too), I really don’t care. It’s the fact that NFL teams generally won’t/don’t give chances to those guys.

    Pabs mentioned on the previous post about some attributes that help overcome height, such as long arms. And short QBs always get the Doug Flutie treatment but he and Wilson are pretty different, too. Wilson has an NFL that can make all the throws.

    I remember some of Flutie playing when I was young and he’d almost shotput some of those passes. I’m not taking anything away from his career, but Wilson has an NFL arm, whereas it definitely wasn’t a strength for Flutie.

    Definitely jacked to see what this “little” guy can do in the preseason! And then I hope Flynn never allows him a chance to see any real action in the regular season. It’s nice being excited about your top QBs. For me, last year was the year from hell with respect to that position of utmost importance, and this year I’m being bombarded with rejuvination (first in free agency and then the draft).

  3. It would be nice to see numbers for taller qbs and first and second rounders…we need some sort a refetence for comparison tmake your numbers more meaningful.

  4. scorpeeo says:

    Bobby hit the nail on the head. Due to stereotypes the sub 6′ QB’s just aren’t given the opportunities and frankly long before you hit the big time in college you have already moved to RB, WR or CB if you are “too short.”

    Remember Cal Ripken was too big to play shortstop. We just laugh at that stereotype now but 30 years ago it was the same as 6′ QB’s now.

  5. gonefishin69690 says:

    Whitehurst is 6’5″. Alot of good that does. This isn’t basketball

  6. chrisj122 says:

    I’m going to stick to my opinion on this and say he’s to short to have a successfull career as a NFL QB starter. It maybe a stereotype but I think its practical and realistic to take height into account when evaluating the expectations of an NFL QB. He may prove me wrong and become the best QB ever but I think it’s more likely he becomes a very good backup QB.
    There is a reason Why in the last 30yrs no one under 6′ has been successfull as a QB starter with the exception of maybe Doug Flutie.

  7. guiltybystander says:

    If height were that important to being an NFL quarterback, they’d be working on Dan McGwire’s (6’8″) bust for Canton, where it would be placed between Frank Patrick (6’7″) and Sonny Gibbs (6’7″). How much has being 6’6″ helped JaMarcus Russell or Derek Anderson?

    Let’s just have all the hyperventilating over Russell Wilson’s height take a breather (so to speak) and let the guy just go to camp and try playing his way onto the roster. If Wilson becomes a reliable backup, he’ll have been worth a third-round pick. Anything more than that, he’ll be a steal. I’d settle for an upgrade over Charlie Whitehurst, but then I set the bar real low for Seahawk QBs.

  8. The bar was set about as low as you can go last year with respect to QBs.

  9. NCEngineer says:

    I have read with interest all the comments about Russell Wilson both on this blog and many others. It is well noted that Russell has a high football IQ and many, many other traits but those of you out there that are skeptics I would like to add another dimension of Russell’s.
    I watched him play at NCSU both football and baseball 3 years so I can attest. Playing infield in baseball gave him an advantage over many NFL QBs. 1. the kid can run right and throw left or run left and throw right with power and accuracy 2. Baseball requires very quick decisions and a powerful arm. You mix this ability into all his other physical and mental traits and you have a NFL QB like no others that were less than 6 feet tall much less over 6 feet.

  10. tchristensen says:

    BobbyK, are the people of Minnesota relieved to be keeping the Vikings or are they apathetic like when the Sonics left town?

  11. jchawks08 says:

    Did you all watch Jon Grudens QB camp piece with Russell Wilson? I came away from that absolutely in love (totally football kind of way) with Wilson. Not to mention Gruden. I mean there’s not one thing this kid can’t do on the football field. He is an amazing athlete. I think we’re lucky to have him. I want Flynn to show he’s the starter, but am prepared to see how special Wilson is. He could shock EVERYONE.

  12. RDPoulsbo says:

    I think fans really need to temper their enthusiasm for Wilson. He’s the current flavor of the week because he’s the new guy. I still see him as the #3 QB. He still has a lot to learn about the league and there’s little reason to rush it.

    I also keep seeing the argument against Flynn out there because his old coach didn’t sign him in Miami. Do not think for once second that Philbin has any power in that organization. Here’s further proof:

    “I don’t think they’re going to rush (Ryan Tannehill) into anything,” Ross told “He’s going to have to win the starting job. I think Matt Moore will probably be the starter, and I wish him the best.”

    That’s the owner getting deep into the weeds of a QB competition. Do not think for one second that PC would even be in Seattle if Paul Allen was trumping him in press conferences. Why would Flynn want to be in that situation for that matter?

  13. Ewalters7354 says:

    I like Russell Wilson but I just am gonna have to see him play for myself.The Hawks could have used that pick on an impact player and I would’ve been satisfied but I don’t believe u draft a QB in the 3rd round to be the guy.Hopefully he can be an exception with the height disadvantage and be our Drew Breed,but I won’t be a believer until I am proved wrong.

  14. I think there’s a general sense that people are glad that the Vikings are going to stay.

  15. mocarob says:

    Gruden’s QB camp with Wilson is pretty impressive.

  16. GeorgiaHawk says:

    I think that Eric really nailed it a few weeks back when he said that Wilson was a prospect to look at for our qb position! Many of us including me did not share the same view of Wilson at that time.

    Now after further review(imo)Eric was spot on! I Really like this kid the more I see and hear about him! Flynn has good potential, however he seems to be passive, at least in his interviews. Wilson seems to be a take charge type of guy that will lead us in the locker room as well as on the field!
    Should be a good competition!

  17. Dukeshire says:

    Good piece, Eric. Quite a difference in success differential between the 6’0 and 5’11” and under. Whether or not that’s simply an anomaly or not is debatable. But Wilson will bmhave to defy history if he is to live up to a fraction of the expectations people on the blog are putting on him.

  18. SpellStitchedHawk says:

    Who have been our backup QBs that have had to play multiple games over the last few years? Seneca Wallace and Charlie Whitehurst. Picking up Wilson is already a mega win in my book and he won’t have to play a single game.

  19. I’ve been a big Flynn guy for over a year but I really haven’t drank much of the Wilson kool aid until we drafted him. He wasn’t a high priority in my book. I’m trying to figure out if am an drinking too much of the drink because he’s not T-Jack or if it’s due to his skills (minus the height). Either way, lets just win with Flynn and be done with it!

  20. SeattleBlue says:

    Hawks just got kellen winslow…

  21. That could be a huge signing! Huge! Sure, he doesn’t have much cartilege in his knee anymore, but he could be a big time 1-year signing/role player for a year *IF* his knee can take it.

  22. wow . . .nice opportunistic signing by the Hawks. Can he still play??

  23. SeattleBlue says:

    Ya, our two tight-end sets could be looking pretty good this year if kellen plays like he did last year and miller like two years ago, haha

  24. SeattleBlue says:

    And lets not forget…he is an f-n soldier

  25. “Are the people of Minnesota relieved to be keeping the Vikings or are they apathetic like when the Sonics left town?” – TChristensen

    Speak for yourself. Just because you were apathetic doesn’t mean everyone was. I wasn’t. I’m still miffed and so are plenty others. Too many bad apples definitely spoils the national opinion of Seattle sports fans.

  26. HeinieHunter says:

    Steve Largent was too short and too slow to be an NFL wide receiver and he seemed to manage okay.

  27. mquinn73 says:

    One thing that I think helps Wilson is that our current veteran QBs (Flynn & Jackson) are both ‘only’ 6’2″. I’d be more concerned if we had a stable of proto-typical QBs (i.e. same body size as Eli Manning or Tom Brady, 6’4″ plus in height) which would mean that we’d have to run a very different system for Wilson when compared to the others.

    The fact that Jackson is not that tall, but is mobile, helps Wilson insofar as a lot of the current offensive system is set up for a QB of his talents (and limitations).

  28. bbnate420 says:

    Jeff Garcia SHOULD be on this list! If you believe that he is actually 6’1″ then I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you.

    BobbyK, it’s nice to see that you’ve reverted back to your delusional hyperbole regarding TJack. I doubt he will ever be anything more than an average to slightly above average starter and good # 2 but, “The bar was set about as low as you can go last year with respect to QBs.” I guess you weren’t a fan or had your head buried in the sand back in the Stouffer-McGwire-Gelbaugh-Mirer era!!!!!!!!!!

  29. bbnate420 says:

    List of 2nd and 3rd round quarterbacks drafted from 1992-2010.

    At best, I think that you could argue that 4 out of the 41, not a good success rate, played up to the level commensurate with their draft position. Those 4 are Brees, Schaub, Plummer, and Griese. Griese is debatable as well.
    A study of the success rate of all QBs drafted in rounds 1-7 from 2000-2008. He defines “success” as them currently being starting QB’s, article was written before last season. With this definition of success, the 1st rounders were a 50/50 proposition. 2nd-7th rounders had 11% success rate. 2nd rounders were rated at 30%, 3 out of 10, by him but, I think that would go to 1 out of 10 now as he had Kolb and Henne rated as successes. The jury is still out on Kolb though IMO.

    This all adds up to the fact that drafting a QB is really a crap shoot. You have about a 50% chance of getting at least a decent starting QB if you draft one in the 1st round and dramatically less of a chance of doing that if you draft one later. So really, statistically the chances of Wilson being a franchise QB or even a decent starter are not good regardless of his height. All of this means nothing if Wilson does it. There are always players that are the exception. I am personally pulling for him.

  30. nate – I’d take any of those losers over T-Jack.

  31. bbnate420 says:

    Fair enough I guess BobbyK. Opinions are like holes. Everybody’s got one. Statistically speaking though, you would be DEAD WRONG. TJack’s rating last year was better than your boy Hasselbeck’s from 2008-2010!
    Seriously though, if you’re not joking then I don’t see how anybody on this blog could ever take your opinion of quarterbacks seriously again!

  32. chawkfrommclean says:

    Bill Polian should know something about importance of having more than an adequate back up QB. I don’t think PS/JS used the 3rd round pick to find a back up.

  33. jchawks08 says:

    Nate, I don’t want to jump on the bash BobbyK bandwagon, but you are so spot on. If he believe what he just said about taking T-Jack over any of those clucks you mentioned, then yea, his credibility goes right out the window.
    Not that I put much stock into what fanboys spout. Some peeps just seem to know what they are talking about at times. That’s all.

  34. richardfg7 says:

    That’s all cool & good but it really has nothing to do with the Seahawks or Russell Wilson.

  35. str8jaz says:

    Only teams with a shortie are even having a debate about this.

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