Where does Russell Wilson rank among AFC quarterbacks?

Denver Broncos v Baltimore Ravens
Denver Broncos v Baltimore Ravens / G Fiume/GettyImages

In terms of 2022 performances, Russell Wilson would rank near the bottom, but in terms of pure QB talent and skill, does Wilson rank higher than we think? After 11 years in the NFL, Russell Wilson has built himself a Hall of Fame career.

For whatever reason, he turned into public enemy #1 in the 2022 season. Wilson playing badly was apparently the worst thing he could have possibly done, and even non-Broncos fans seemed to turn on him. What did Wilson do to them?

I think some of the criticism of Russell Wilson was completely inappropriate and crossed the line between person and football player. Now that the season is behind us and a new chapter is beginning, Wilson and the Denver Broncos can start fresh.

However, one of the biggest downsides here is that Denver is in the AFC, which is an insanely talented conference. You could argue that about 14 different teams could make the playoffs in 2023 and likely beyond.

Can the Broncos be one of the seven teams to make it out of this competitive conference and clinch a playoff spot? Most of that will depend on the performance of Wilson. Where does he rank among AFC quarterbacks?

Well, I think the top five signal callers in the AFC in no order are Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, and Trevor Lawrence. I wouldn't be surprised if each player had at least one Super Bowl ring at the end of their careers. For varying reasons, they're all elite. Elite arm strength, mobility, accuracy, or a combination of all three.

It's hard to dispute the top five I think. The next tier down would have to include Lamar Jackson, Tua Tagovailoa, Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson, and Russell Wilson perhaps. Once you look outside of the top five among AFC quarterbacks, the rankings can get a bit clogged up.

On a side note, I think it's mostly obvious who would make up the rest of the conference. Mac Jones, Kenny Pickett, Ryan Tannehill/Will Levis, Jimmy Garoppolo, Anthony Richardson/Gardner Minshew, CJ Stroud/Davis Mills all would make up that last tier of signal callers. They're either unproven or simply not good at playing QB in the NFL.

But, back to this second tier, which is interesting. Lamar Jackson seems to be up and down as of late and has never been up the upper echelon of passers, but his running ability is through the roof. Tua Tagovailoa burst onto the scene this year after two years of iffy play, but his injury concerns are valid and can hurt his ranking. Aaron Rodgers is now an AFC QB but had his worst year as a starter in 2022 with the Packers, so maybe the soon to be 40 year old has hit the wall?

Deshaun Watson served his suspension and didn't play in 2021, so his 2022 appearances were rusty and he looked like a third-string QB. Do we know for sure if Watson returns to what he was before the suspension? That's uncertain. The same argument can apply to Russell Wilson, who was elite for a decade but fell flat in 2022. The 6-10th best QBs in the AFC all have the talent to be elite, but all face some form of unknowns.

Russell Wilson is, at least, a top-10 QB in the AFC, and outside of Rodgers, has the best resume of elite play. If we'd say that Aaron Rodgers is the 6th best QB in the conference, then I'd think Wilson would come in as the 7th best QB in the AFC.

Does that sound fair?

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