Tuesday, August 3, 2010

State should experiment with Wilson at other positions

Russell Wilson is turning from baseball to football as fall drills start at N.C. State, but the Wolfpack should consider using him at a position other than quarterback at least in some situations.

Wilson is a brilliant college quarterback, and led the ACC in touchdown throws last year with 31. But he’s just not likely to make the NFL as a quarterback at 5 feet 11.

It’s true, as Wilson pointed out to reporters Monday, that Drew Brees is a top NFL quarterback and stands only 6 feet. But Brees was a pocket passer at Purdue and overcame any questions about his height once he arrived in the NFL.

Wilson is an efficient passer and has a great arm, but he still does much of his damage when moving out of the pocket. He won’t do that in the NFL, with 235-pound linebackers just as quick as him flying into the pocket. Or if he does it, he won’t do it long. You can't dodge NFL defenses for 16 games.

What’s surprising about Wilson, when you stand next to him, is how strong he is across the shoulders and arms. He has the strength and explosive ability to convert to cornerback, where his size would be a natural fit in the NFL. And he might be able to make the transition to receiver as well.

Years ago, UNC moved running back Torin Dorn to defense and he wound up playing in the NFL for seven seasons. More recently, former Carolina star Ronald Curry was switched to receiver by the Oakland Raiders, and he played seven seasons in black and silver and caught 193 balls.

UNC’s Darian Durant, meanwhile, stayed at quarterback – and stayed in the CFL. Durant, now 27, is the starting quarterback for Saskatchawan, and you can bet the NFL isn’t beating down his door.

And of course, Appalachian State quarterback Armanti Edwards is switching to receiver with the Carolina Panthers this season.

The rise of Mike Glennon gives N.C. State some options at quarterback. If State wants to get both Glennon and Wilson on the field, it’s worth considering Wilson at another position, even if it is only in special situations. Wilson could be tried as a slot receiver or nickel back on defense.

It might sound far-fetched, but it’s not. Giving Wilson some experience at other positions may well be in his best interest.

1 comment:

  1. He could be good at corner. Most quarterbacks are. Go Russell. Wolfie '61