The football outsiders dudes have a formula they've been playing with for a few years that tries to forecast the career success of college quarterbacks coming into the NFL. One of the major factors in the equation is number of games started at the college level. Guys who don't start a lot of games and end up starting in the NFL have a very poor track record apparently.
The biggest question about LCF continues to be the importance of games started. This is still the most important variable in the equation. As I explained in last year's article, any quarterback projection system based on past performance is going to highly value collegiate games started. From 1990 to 2005, it was far and away the most important variable in determining the success of highly-drafted quarterbacks.
And here's what they said about Wilson when they looked at him through the lens of their formula:
http://www.footballoutsiders.com/nfl-dr ... ecast-2012
Russell Wilson, Wisconsin: 2,650 DYAR
Important stats: 48 games started, 60.7% completion rate, senior passer rating rose 64.1 points.
I would be remiss if I didn't at least mention the ridiculous projection that the Lewin Career Forecast spits out for Russell Wilson. Yes, that projection is even higher than the one for Robert Griffin. No, it doesn't particularly mean that Wilson is a sleeper prospect. There are a few things going on here that the LCF is just not designed to account for.
First and foremost, the change in Wilson's passer rating between his junior and senior years is insane. Remember that earlier I noted that Griffin had a larger senior year passer rating increase than any quarterback in our data set? Well, Wilson's senior year passer rating increase is 40 percent larger than Griffin's. But does it matter when the quarterback is playing in a completely different offense for a completely different school in his last year of college eligibility? At Wisconsin, Wilson got to pick apart defenses that were concentrating on stopping Montee Ball. At North Carolina State, I doubt opponents were quaking in their boots at the thought of Mustafa Greene and Dean Haynes. It goes without saying that there isn't another quarterback in the LCF data set who transferred between his junior and senior years.
There's also the issue of height, another data point where there's nobody in our data set that can be compared to Wilson. At first, it seems strange that LCF doesn't include a variable to discount short quarterbacks, but when you look at the data set that went into creating LCF the reasons are pretty clear. There's no penalty for being 5-foot-11, like Wilson is, because there are no quarterbacks in the data set who are shorter than 6-foot-0. There's no penalty for being only 6-foot-0 because the two quarterbacks who are 6-foot-0 are Drew Brees and Michael Vick.
Quarterbacks who are Wilson's height simply don't get drafted in the first three rounds of the draft, period. The FO master database only includes three quarterbacks who are below six feet tall: Seneca Wallace, Joe Hamilton, and Flutie. That's a fourth-round pick, a seventh-round pick, and an 11th round pick from 25 years ago. Even if we go all the way back to 1991, the only quarterbacks taken in the first six rounds at 6-foot-0 or shorter were Vick, Brees, Wallace, Joe Germaine (fourth round, 1999), and Troy Smith (fifth round, 2007).
Wilson too will probably be drafted on the third day of the draft, round four or later, which would render his absurdly high LCF moot.