Who is Russell Wilson?

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The simple response is that Russell Wilson is a 5-foot-11 rookie third-round pick who is likely to be Seattle's backup QB to start the season.

But the 23-year-old may get the chance to quickly add to that answer.

Let's start with the obvious: if Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was completely sold on Matt Flynn -- a quarterback the team signed in the offseason for $10 million guaranteed -- he wouldn't have instituted a competition that at one time included Tarvaris Jackson (any time Jackson is a part of a QB competition you know the coach isn't quite sold on the guy deemed the "favorite").

Wilson has had a tremendous preseason, and even though he has been doing his damage against second- and third-team defenses, his playmaking ability is undeniable. The rookie has completed 22-of-33 for 279 yards and three passing touchdowns while rushing for 92 yards and a touchdown in two games.

Flynn, meanwhile, has been limited mostly to completing dump-offs and check- downs against first-team defenses. He has completed 65.4 percent of his passes but is averaging just 3.9 yards per attempt (in fairness to Flynn, Terrell Owens didn't help matters by dropping a 46-yard touchdown pass in stride last week).

Here's a little more about Wilson: he's a former two-sport star with NC State and was drafted in the fourth round of the 2010 MLB Draft by the Colorado Rockies. He transferred to Wisconsin for his final season of eligibility in football and set the FBS single-season record with a 191.78 passing efficiency rating.

His rating was more than 22 points higher than the next highest rated QB from a pro-style offense. In second place behind Wilson ... No. 1 overall pick, Andrew Luck.

Sportsxchange.com touted Wilson's accuracy, arm strength, quick release, and decision-making ability as well as his vision when on the move. And he has the wingspan of a 6-foot-4 person with larger hands than any quarterback rated above him, including Luck, Robert Griffin III and Ryan Tannehill.

Despite glowing reviews and supreme athleticism, Wilson was never considered a first-round worthy talent because of the one thing he couldn't change regardless of how hard he worked: his height.

It's baffling that stature still trumps skills in the eyes of scouts after 6- foot Drew Brees shattered the NFL record for single-season passing yards just a season ago. I hope fantasy owners don't possess the same prejudices.

Wilson is going undrafted in 15-round mocks on fantasyfootballcalculator.com, but there is little risk in taking a late-round flier on him. It was only a season ago when Cam Newton showed us how valuable a fantasy quarterback can be when he can use his feet as a weapon. After a hot start throwing the ball, Newton ended up with a pedestrian 253.2 ypg with 21 touchdowns and 17 interceptions, but his 706 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground made him an elite fantasy option the entire season.

Wilson has to overcome Flynn and his guaranteed money first before he can think about becoming another Newton, but Carroll has already shown he is not going to favor Flynn just because of the dollar amount on his contract.

The rookie is very much in the running for the Week 1 start, so much so that I'm sure Terrell Owens is already cozying up to Wilson at practice in anticipation (while also thinking up some insults to hurl on the sidelines after he doesn't get enough targets).

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Thomas J. Harrigan at tharrigan@sportsnetwork.com.

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