Embrace Debate: Who’s the better young quarterback, Colin Kaepernick or Russell Wilson?
By Guest Writer Ikeem Boyd:
ESPN’s Ron Jaworski recently completed his rankings of who he believes are the top 32 quarterbacks heading into the 2013 NFL season. I know that Jaworski is a former NFL quarterback and I respect his opinions as an analyst but I believe his list is a little out of whack. Jaws doesn’t have Drew Brees or Eli Manning in top 5, instead he has Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan. That just doesn’t seem logical considering what Brees and Manning have accomplished so far in their careers…but I digress.
Further down the list at number 11 and number 12 are when the top two quarterbacks in the NFC West appear; Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers and Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks. Seeing these young quarterbacks ranked so highly on Jaworski’s list and so close together made me wonder, “Who’s the better quarterback”? To figure out an answer to my question I came up with my own formula. The formula is a combination of 3 elements: Winning Success, Stats, and Leadership and Intangibles. I also took a Twitter Fan Vote to see what other thought. Here is what I came up with…
People love to compare quarterbacks on how often they win. Both Kaepernick and Wilson led their teams to successful campaigns in 2012; although their journeys were different. Kaepernick was named the starter after Alex Smith suffered a concussion. He went 7-2 as a starter and led the 49ers to the Super Bowl where they fell short to the Baltimore Ravens. Kaepernick flourished in Coach Harbaugh’s spread offense as both a passer and runner. Wilson won his starting spot the hard way beating out Matt Flynn during training camp. He led the Seahawks to an 11-5 record before losing in the Divisional round of the NFC playoffs. Wilson didn’t turn the ball over much as a rookie and was consistent throughout the season. Each had great success for first time starting quarterbacks in the NFL but if you’re going to judge them on winning then you have to give the nod to Kaepernick.
Now let’s take a look at their statistics, keep in mind Wilson started 16 games and Kaepernick only started 9 games. Wilson completed 64% of his passes for 3118 yards and 26 touchdowns with only 10 interceptions and a QBR (quarterback rating) of 100%. Wilson rushed for 489 yards on 94 attempts (5.2 yards a carry) and had 4 rushing touchdowns. Kaepernick completed 62% of his passes 1849 yards and 10 touchdowns with 3 interceptions and a QBR of 98.3%. Kaepernick rushed for 415 yards on 63 attempts (6.6 yards a carry) and had 5 rushing touchdowns. It’s tough to compare the numbers because the sample sizes are different due to Wilson starting 16 games and Kaepernick starting 9 games. It’s a toss-up but I’ll give the nod to Wilson.
Next up is leadership and intangibles. In my opinion, leadership is just as important as talent. Tim Tebow is a notable example of leadership outweighing talent. To play the position of quarterback you have to be a leader, it comes with the territory. It’s easy to be a leader when everything is going right, but when adversity strikes is when you find out who your real leaders are. Wilson and Kaepernick are both fiery competitors who want to win at all costs, but I believe that Wilson is the better leader. Everyone that Wilson has ever come in contact with Wilson has given him a ringing endorsement. They all speak highly of the respectable man and hard worker he is. Wilson transferred to Wisconsin from NC State as a 5th year senior and was named a team captain for the Badgers a few days after arriving on campus at Wisconsin. In a few short days he was able to gain the respect and admiration of his teammates. Wilson is a leader of men and players enjoy playing with him. He possesses that “it” factor that coaches at every level look for in their players.
According to my formula, Wilson grades out as the better quarterback. Wilson possesses everything you want in a quarterback except ideal height. He has proven that height doesn’t matter much. Out of the 669 followers I have on Twitter, 63% believe that Wilson is the better quarterback. Twitterverse seems to agree with me.
– Written by: Ikeem Boyd