By Brady Henderson
Former NFL front-office executive Tony Softli is predicting that rookie Russell Wilson will eventually be the Seahawks’ starting quarterback, even if he doesn’t win the job during training camp.
Softli joined “Bob and Groz” in-studio on Wednesday for a 40-minute discussion that led off with the Seahawks’ three-way quarterback battle between Wilson, Matt Flynn and Tarvaris Jackson. Softli isn’t sold on Flynn, who signed a three-year deal that includes $10 million guaranteed after spending four seasons as Aaron Rodgers’ backup in Green Bay. He doesn’t think Jackson has much of a shot, predicting that last year’s starter will be this year’s “odd-man-out.”
Tony Softli thinks Russell Wilson was the fourth best quarterback in the draft. (AP)
Softli raved about Wilson’s athleticism and leadership. He said Wilson “throws a better ball” than Drew Brees, the Saints’ record-setting quarterback, and that it’s only a matter of time before Wilson proves that he’s a better quarterback than Flynn and Jackson.
“I think he is the future, there’s no question,” Softli said. “Flynn, Jackson, they better not open the door because this guy will slam it shut.”
According to Softli, who was a personnel executive for the Panthers and Rams, Wilson was the fourth best quarterback in the 2012 draft — behind Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Ryan Tannehill. Five quarterbacks were drafted before the Seahawks took Wilson with the 12th pick in the third round.
“This guy is five-foot-10 and five-eighths,” Softli said of Wilson’s height, which is short by NFL quarterback standards. “That’s the only reason that he went that late in the draft. A steal by [general manager John Schneider] and coach [Pete] Carroll to get him in the third round.
“… you’re going to have to roll him out, you’re going to have to play him a little bit like Wisconsin did,” Soflti said, suggesting measures the Seahawks can take to combat the challenges presented by Wilson’s height. “But I think this guy can also stand in the pocket and really deliver some nice balls. I like everything about this guy.”
Wilson made the Seahawks’ quarterback battle a three-way affair after impressing coaches during the team’s rookie minicamp. The Seahawks finished organized team activities and minicamp without a decision at quarterback and will continue to split reps between the three when training camp begins later this month. Softli thinks the competition will be a legitimate one.
While it wasn’t entirely clear, the comments he made Wednesday — and on Saturday during his appearance on “The John Clayton Show” — suggest that he thinks Wilson will overtake Flynn at some point during the season.
“I think that once he picks up this offense he’ll be ahead of Flynn not only athletically but [in terms of] positional attributes as well,” Softli said. “I like what Flynn brings to the table because he does have some experience, and I think it’s going to be a good competition between the two, but when it’s all said and done I think Wilson will be the guy.”
In the video below, Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby discuss the possibility of Softli’s prediction coming true.
You can download Wednesday’s podcast here.
Related: Kurt Warner weighs in on Seahawks’ quarterback battle