The 2012-13 NFL season has proven that when you choose the right TV service, it will pay off because fans were treated to breakout seasons from a number of young quarterbacks. Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III more that lived up to their billing as the top two picks in the previous year’s draft, leading previously struggling teams into the playoffs.
It was a less-heralded rookie and a relatively unknown second-year pro who really stole the show, though. Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick each left their mark, dramatically, on the 2012 season.
Selected in the third round of the NFL draft, largely due to concerns about his height, rookie Russell Wilson won the battle for starting QB in Seahawks training camp and never looked back, leading his team past Griffin’s Redskins and into the divisional round of the NFL Playoffs. In the same division, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick burst on the scene midway through the season, seized the starting QB job, and led his team all the way to the Super Bowl.
Any football fan can tell you that one great season does not make a whole career, but both players seem to have very bright futures ahead of them. The question is, who will have the longer career? Let’s attack the question piece by piece.
Quarterbacks in general are very vulnerable to injury, especially mobile quarterbacks such as Wilson and Kaepernick, so the team in front of them can make a big difference in the longevity of their careers. Both the 49ers and Seahawks fielded strong teams in 2012, and look poised to do so for the foreseeable future.
For Wilson, the offensive line is something of a concern. Star left tackle Russell Okung is a great cornerstone, but he has trouble staying on the field. The 49ers, meanwhile, boast one of the best lines in the league. Left tackle Joe Staley and guard Mike Lupati form the foundation for one of the best units in the league.
On the flip side, Wilson has superior offensive weapons, with bruising running back Marshawn Lynch sharing the load and speedy receiver Percy Harvin poised to help when he recovers from injury. The 49ers have aging legend Frank Gore at running back, and not much else. Top receiver Michael Crabtree is out indefinitely with an injury.
Despite Wilson having better complimentary weapons, the edge here has to go to Kaepernick, as offensive line play is so important to QB health.
In many ways, the two play a similar style. Both run the read-option and scramble regularly, which can be great for offensive production but hazardous to QB health. Kaepernick has a rocket arm, while Wilson’s is more in the above average range.
Both players also have poise beyond their years, always showing up in the biggest moments of the game. While it’s easy to see Wilson having a long career based on his smarts and guile, Kaepernick’s superior arm will give him the option to play more of a pocket-based QB style later in his career. The edge here, again, goes to Kaepernick.
Fans will hope, of course, that both players have long, successful careers, as they are both such a joy to watch on the field. Though Kaepernick does seem to have an edge, Wilson has been an underdog his whole career and you can never count him out.