RENTON, Wash. _ Russell Wilson joined the quarterback conversation as soon as the Seahawks chose him in the third round of this year's NFL draft.
It took him just a little bit longer to officially join the competition for the starting job.
"He's shown us enough," coach Pete Carroll said Sunday. "We need to see where he fits in."
The coach made that declaration as Seattle concluded its three-day minicamp for rookies, and Carroll was clear that Wilson will be the third candidate under consideration for the starting job along with the incumbent, Tarvaris Jackson, and free-agent addition Matt Flynn.
Carroll offered no specifics on how the competition would be structured and no estimate on a timetable for a decision, but suggested some patience.
"It's going to take us a long time to do this," Carroll said. "It's going to be frustrating for you guys. You're going to keep asking and want to know. I'm just going to be more patient than you can imagine as we go through this process, and we'll just figure it out when we do."
A year ago, Carroll installed Jackson as the starter from the first day of training camp instead of opting for the head-to-head competition with Charlie Whitehurst most expected. Carroll attributed that decision to Jackson's familiarity with the playbook of offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell_whom Jackson played for in Minnesota_and the compressed offseason.
Now, Carroll is setting up a three-way competition after seeing enough from Wilson the past three days to believe the rookie from Wisconsin merits consideration.
"He did an excellent job of demonstrating that he prepared for this," Carroll said of Wilson at the minicamp.
Wilson was drafted out of Wisconsin at No. 75 overall. While that's the highest pick the franchise has used on a quarterback since Rick Mirer was chosen No. 2 overall in 1993, a third-round pick is hardly a guarantee of opportunity. Seattle drafted David Greene in the third round in 2005, and released him two years later before he appeared in a game.
Wilson is a different caliber of prospect, someone who played in a West Coast offense first at North Carolina State and then last year at Wisconsin. He was one of the three quarterbacks who participated in Seattle's rookie minicamp, and the fact that a team's veterans are no longer permitted to participate in those practices meant Wilson took the vast majority of snaps.
Carroll estimated Wilson ran 500 plays over the three days, and attempted 400 passes, and there was only one time the coach could recall the player stumbling over the verbiage to set up the play.
"That's an amazing load we threw on him," Carroll said, "but he handled it like he has been here. That was a great first sign just about his willingness to prepare and his ability to hold all the information."
Wilson said that his transition in transferring from NC State to Wisconsin helped prepare him for adjusting to a new offense in Seattle. But that command is just the first step in getting up to speed in the NFL.
"I'm trying to learn all the nuances of the quarterback position here," Wilson said Friday. "I know the plays enough, but I'm trying to learn the ins and outs and whys of football. That's something that I have to do every day."
Carroll was asked whether the team expected Wilson would compete for the starting job immediately on the night the Seahawks drafted him.
"I'd hoped," Carroll said. "We confirmed it in these three days. He left really no question about he needs to be involved in the competition."
THROWN INTO THE FIRE
Russell Wilson was chosen No. 75 overall in this year's draft, the highest pick the Seahawks have used on a quarterback since 1993, which is also the last time a rookie started a game at quarterback for Seattle:
Rookie starter Year Starting record Drafted
Rick Mirer 1993 6-10 1st round (No. 2 overall)
Dan McGwire 1991 1-0 1st round (No. 16 overall)
Kelly Stouffer 1988 3-3 1st round-x (No. 6 overall)
Jim Zorn 1976 2-12 Undrafted
x-Stouffer was drafted in 1987 by the Cardinals, but never signed with them. His first NFL season was 1988.
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