In April 2012, the Washington Redskins took a risk and traded up to draft Robert Griffin III of Baylor as the second overall pick in the NFL Draft.
The Redskins brought in Griffin to be the savior. He was the future of a franchise that was completely void of a consistent quarterback.
Expectations were high and the stakes were higher. This was a boom or bust draft pick for everyone involved.
On the contrary, the Seattle Seahawks drafted Russell Wilson in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
After signing quarterback Matt Flynn to a multi-year deal, Wilson would serve as a safety net for the organization. Wilson wasn’t a necessity, but a luxury. No one had expectations for him, just a curious interest. He was a relatively low risk addition for the Seahawks.
Clearly, experts perceived these two players differently. Griffin was bound to resurrect a franchise almost instantly, whereas Wilson would still need to develop.
Physically, these two men are very different as well. Robert Griffin III stands at a lean and elusive 6’2”, 223 pounds, while Russell Wilson settles in at 5’11”, 204 pounds. Griffin sits right in the sweet spot of quarterback size. He is tall, quick and light on his feet. Wilson is undersized by at least three inches.
Looking at pure stats and not the above comparison, however, it is hard to distinguish the two.
Let’s take the names out of the equation and examine the relevant stat lines for each player. We will call them Player 1 and Player 2.
As shown above, these two players possess very similar statistics for the 2012 season. Player 1 was able to edge Player 2 in passing touchdowns and overall touchdowns; however he fell slightly behind in both rushing categories as well as interceptions.
Total passing yards and completion percentage for both players remained relatively close.
Ultimately, it is hard to discern which player had a better season. One could argue both sides. Each player seemed to do things well as an individual, and each led his team to the playoffs. However, one guy was taken as the 2nd overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, and the other was taken as the 75th.
Player 1 is Russell Wilson and Player 2 is Robert Griffin III.
The fact that the season statistics can even be compared is a testament to Wilson’s performance. It could be argued, given the stat lines and the success of each team, that Russell Wilson was the more valuable draft pick.
This does not mean that he is the more valuable player to his team. It means the Seattle Seahawks received better value for their pick.
This is not an attempt to tear down RG3’s achievements, but a vessel to illustrate Russell Wilson’s success.
When names are removed from an argument and major hype is ignored, statistics are objectively displayed. If fans and experts want to talk about RG3 being the MVP, then Russell Wilson should not be a far cry from that conversation.
If people want to put Griffin in the category of “top 5 quarterback” in the league, then Wilson should be right there also.
The general perception tells us that Robert Griffin III is an outstanding quarterback; however, Russell Wilson has more game winning drives.
The hysteria makes Griffin look like a definitively better player, but that is an unfair comparison.
These are two men cut from the same cloth doing great things in the NFL. They play the game with heart, and they have both been a major factor in their teams’ success.
Russell Wilson’s rise to prominence should be acknowledged just as extensively as Robert Griffin III’s accomplishments. Perhaps, it is difficult to conclusively say that Wilson is “better” than RG3, but he is definitely better than most think.
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