HOFer Kurt Warner on what makes Seahawks’ Russell Wilson and Cards’ Kyler Murray unique

Jun 20, 2019, 12:13 PM

russell wilson, seahawks...

Seahawks' star Russell Wilson is the most experienced QB in the NFC West. (Getty)


What makes former baseball players uniquely talented at quarterback?

Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner joined Brock Huard and Mike Salk to talk about his fascination with baseball players-turned-football players. The former Cardinals quarterback also shared what he’s been hearing about Arizona’s first-overall pick Kyler Murray, and how the rookie compares to Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

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Brock and Salk also had to get to the bottom of one issue in particular: Why did Warner rate Wilson outside the top five of his 2019 quarterback rankings?

“I actually had Russell tied with Big Ben (Roethlisberger), but for TV I had to choose one, so I chose Big Ben,” Warner explained. “And I’ll be the first one to say it: for whatever reason, because I played the game a certain way, I think I’m always skewed toward guys that play the game more inside the pocket than out. But Russell Wilson to me is a special, special player. Again, I think what dropped him was just the fact that I still think he’s got a lot of work to do inside the pocket. But what I will say about Russell Wilson is I’m not sure there’s a better winner in the NFL than Russell Wilson. And that alone could have him up there at two or three on my list, because that’s what it’s all about. As a play-maker, there is nobody better in the league. But again, when I go and make those lists, often times I think of, ‘In the NFL, to win championships, you have to be able to play in the pocket and make all of those plays and throws and decisions’ and Russell’s just not top five in that area for me.”

Warner said Wilson could find his way into his top five by continuing to show growth in his deficiencies in the pocket, specifically bettering his ability to see pressure, decipher, and getting the ball out on time. But he adds that Wilson makes up for a lot of that with his ability in other areas; for the Hall of Famer, there’s nobody better at playing outside of the pocket, buying time, and the deep ball. It’s an ability Warner believes has been fostered by Wilson’s baseball history — and one that the former pocket passer admittedly envies.

“I’m always fascinated by these baseball players – Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, Kyler Murray – because you learn how to throw the ball a little bit differently when you play baseball,” Warner said during a separate question about Kyler Murray. “You’re so out of position so often that you really have to throw it from different platforms, with your core, it’s not always a perfect world. And I think very much the NFL is played like that at the quarterback position. You’ve got to learn how to play in an imperfect world. And that’s the one thing that I’m fascinated by with these guys. It’s not only that he is an unbelievable physical talent, but he’s also got the ability to make a lot of different kinds of throws, which you  have to do at this level.”

Listen to Warner’s entire interview below:

Listen to the Brock and Salk Show weekday mornings from 7-10 a.m. on 710 ESPN Seattle. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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