Russell Wilson could approach elite status in 2013
However, Wilson was even more impressive than one can realize simply by looking at the season statistics. For the first half of the season, Wilson - a third-round pick - was put in a situation where he wasn't asked to do too much. The Seahawks wanted to play it safe with their young quarterback, and not put him in a position in which he was likely to fail, but after Wilson impressed through eight games, head coach Pete Carroll decided to open up the playbook for the rookie sensation.
During the second half of the season, Wilson racked up more than half of his passing yards (1,652), posted a ridiculous touchdown to interception ratio of 16:2, and completed 67.2% of his passes. All of this combines to create a miraculous 120.3 quarterback rating. To top it all off, Wilson ran for 361 of his 489 rushing yards and scored all four of his rushing touchdowns during the second half.
Again, this all came after the Seahawks' coaching staff made a concerted effort to open up the playbook for their rookie quarterback. With a full season of unwavering faith from the organization, Wilson will have a chance to position himself among the league's elite signal callers.
In addition, Wilson now has a full NFL season under his belt, and better knows how to prepare during the offseason. The difference between first- and second-year production is often huge because players know how exactly what they should be working on over the spring and summer.
Carroll has already acknowledged that he expects Wilson to "break out" this season, and that the second-year quarterback is already "a million miles ahead" of where he was last year. "He's the kind of player that will affect other guys," Carroll said. "He affects everyone around him, and hopefully that will help everyone play better and faster." Carroll also said last month that "it may be hard to imagine he's going to get any better, but I think he's going to get a lot better."
If Wilson truly does get "a lot better," that could put him in the discussion of the game's elite quarterbacks. There's not a ton of room between where Wilson was last year and where those top quarterbacks are now.
After his fantastic rookie season, it's hard to think of Wilson as being a sleeper in fantasy drafts. However, look more closely at his second half numbers than what he did over the entire course of the season. He'll now have a full season of freedom within the playbook, and also has a full year of experience. His ceiling is in the sky. I wouldn't be opposed to reaching for him.
One thing holding him back from a fantasy standpoint, however, is that the Seahawks are still expected to be a run-first team, but if Wilson dominates, the coaching staff may not be able to resist the urge to put the ball in his hands more frequently.