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Mile High Morning: Russell Wilson places top-10 in arm strength, decision-making and more in ESPN QB trait rankings

220823_MHM

The Lead

When it comes to the NFL's top quarterbacks, there's no one statistic that can fully encapsulate their talents. Each one has strengths and weaknesses that, together, make up who they are as a player.

To delve into what makes the league's quarterbacks great, a panel of ESPN analysts ranked the top 10 NFL quarterbacks in 12 distinct categories. The panel, which includes Tim Hasselbeck, Mina Kimes, Louis Riddick, Mike Tannenbaum and Field Yates among others, chose their top 10 quarterbacks for each skill area, and their results were combined using a point system to create a final ranking.

Russell Wilson ranked in the top 10 of several categories, including arm strength, accuracy, touch, mechanics, decision-making, compete level, toughness, scrambling and second-reaction ability.

Wilson's highest ranking was at No. 4 in the category of decision-making with the football, which the ESPN analysts described as, "[a]voiding turnovers, protecting the football, not taking unnecessary risks and keeping an offense out of harm's way [leading] to better efficiency."

Top-tier decision-making is one of the major strengths Wilson can bring to the Broncos offense. He had the fourth-lowest interception percentage (1.5%) in the league in 2021, and his 25 touchdowns to just six interceptions demonstrated his efficiency as a passer.

One category in which Wilson did not crack the top 10 was field vision, and Hasselbeck noted that he was surprised by this omission.

"For a guy who consistently posts better than a 3-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio, I think he probably deserves to crack into the rankings," Hasselbeck wrote. "He clearly sees and processes things well, and his awareness is strong pre-snap, in the pocket post-snap and out of the pocket when forced to escape."

Wilson's high scores in these rankings should be a good sign for the Broncos' offensive success in 2022.

Below the Fold

Based on new additions to the group and an expectation of a few breakout seasons, NFL.com’s Adam Schein ranked the Broncos' defense No. 8 in the NFL heading into the season.

"Denver is on this list even after saying goodbye to Von Miller via midseason trade last year, and that's in large part because of the clutch addition of pass-rushing ace Randy Gregory as a free agent this offseason," Schein wrote. "The ex-Cowboy should help provide room for Bradley Chubb, who was held to zero sacks and limited to seven games last season, to reestablish himself as a top-end pass-rushing threat."

Schein also noted the strength of the secondary and the defensive line, highlighting multiple players he expects to have a significant impact.

"Safety Justin Simmons has been a prolifically productive defensive back, piling up 331 tackles over the past four seasons, behind only Cincinnati's Jessie Bates in that span," Schein wrote. "First-round pick Patrick Surtain II, meanwhile, had more interceptions (four) than any Broncos rookie since Steve Foley also recorded four in 1976. I love Surtain's upside and talent. And the tough D-line was boosted by the addition of D.J. Jones."

The Unclassifieds

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