Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Panthers were targeting Russell Wilson last year

Russell Wilson

FILE - In this Nov. 11, 2012, file photo, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, right, looks at a playbook with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, left, on the sidelines during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets in Seattle. Even though Wilson will play his first playoff game Sunday at Washington, Bevell expects more of the same poise he’s seen out of his QB all season. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear, File)


Quarterback Russell Wilson had a chance last year of returning to North Carolina.

The man who transferred from N.C. State to Wisconsin for his final year of college eligibility went in the third round of the 2012 draft, the 75th overall selection. According to Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer, Panthers coach Ron Rivera and his offensive coaching staff were interested in drafting Wilson, as a backup to Cam Newton.

The thinking was that, if Newton were injured, the same offense could be run by Wilson.

But the Panthers viewed Wilson as a late-round pick, underscoring the extent to which most teams failed to accurately evaluate Wilson’s potential at the next level.

Wilson’s intense work ethic could have been a very good thing for Newton, pushing the first overall pick in the 2011 draft to demonstrate the same kind of dedication to film study and overall improvement for which Wilson already has become very well known.

Former Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey, whose team took a punter five spots before Wilson was picked, explained during Friday’s PFT Live the team’s thought process in passing on Wilson. As Mularkey explained it, taking Wilson with that pick wasn’t much of a consideration at all -- especially since the Jags had traded up a year earlier to take Blaine Gabbert.