NFL Network finished up their annual ranking of the top-100 players in the league at the end of this past week and former Wisconsin Badgers (and N.C. State Wolfpack) quarterback Russell Wilson was named the No. 2 player in the whole league. Wilson is the fourth Badger on the list with Pittsburgh Steelers OLB T.J. Watt, Houston Texans DE J.J. Watt and New Orleans Saints OT Ryan Ramczyk.
Wilson only played one season at Wisconsin but it was probably the best season a UW quarterback has ever had. He threw for 3,175 yards, 33 touchdowns and only four interceptions while finishing ninth in the Heisman Trophy vote. He added 338 yards on the ground and six more scores AND ALSO HAD ONE RECEIVING TOUCHDOWN AND 56 YARDS RECEIVING! Quite literally doing it all.
The six-time Pro Bowler threw for 4,110 yards (341-of-516, 66.1%) last year for the Seahawks while tossing a career low five picks compared to his 31 touchdowns. He also ran for 342 yards and three scores. NFL Network notes:
In the aftermath of perhaps his finest individual season, Wilson vaults 23 spots up to his best ranking yet at No. 2. As fresh stars such as Deshaun Watson, Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes become faces of the NFL, Wilson is as phenomenal as ever eight seasons in. Despite being sacked a league-high 48 times, Wilson started every game as he always has — 128 straight to start his career — and became just the fourth quarterback in NFL history with 30-or-more TD passes (31) and five or fewer interceptions (five) in a season. Other sterling numbers such as 4,110 yards and a 106.3 passer rating accompanied his sixth Pro Bowl season (third consecutively), as Wilson’s prowess as one of the best deep-ball passers and clutch fourth-quarter passers (NFL-high 28 fourth-quarter/overtime game-winning drives since 2012) continued. As long as the Seahawks have Wilson, a chance for victory never seems too far removed.
The rest of the top ten is as follows:
- Lamar Jackson, Ravens QB
- Wilson, Seahawks QB
- Aaron Donald, Rams DE
- Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs QB
- Michael Thomas, Saints WR
- Christian McCaffrey, Panthers RB
- George Kittle, 49ers TE
- DeAndre Hopkins, Texans WR
- Stephon Gilmore, Patriots CB
- Derrick Henry, Titans RB
I’d argue that Donald and Mahomes are each a couple of spots too low, but what do I know?