There's no question that Russell Wilson's success has led NFL player personnel directors to reconsider the blueprint for a quarterback.
In the past, those who weren't at least 6-foot-2 hardly got a second look. But by being named to five Pro Bowls in seven seasons and guiding the Seattle Seahawks to a pair of Super Bowl appearances and one championship, the 5-foot-11 Wilson has opened doors for other undersized quarterbacks.
The No. 1 overall pick in each of the past two NFL drafts have been Cleveland's Baker Mayfield (6-1) and Arizona's Kyler Murray (5-11). The Seahawks (4-1) defeated Murray and the host Cardinals 27-10 two weeks ago, and this Sunday will face Mayfield and the Browns (2-3) on the road.
Wilson downplayed his impact, citing other smaller quarterbacks like Drew Brees, Michael Vick, Doug Flutie and Steve Young.
"You see guys like Baker. You see guys like Kyler and others. Hopefully, that stays the case," Wilson said. "Hopefully we can continue to break barriers to allow people to play the game. No matter what you look like. No matter what your size."
Wilson's performance this season has put him in the MVP conversation. He leads the league with a 126.3 passer rating (Houston's Deshaun Watson is second at 115.9) and is the only quarterback in the Super Bowl era to throw for at least 12 touchdowns and zero interceptions through five games.
Wilson was 17 of 23 for 268 yards and four TDs last Thursday in a 30-29 victory against the visiting Los Angeles Rams. It was Seattle's third victory by two or fewer points this season.
"He's been playing MVP-level all season, man," Seahawks left tackle Duane Brown said of Wilson. "He's been doing this his whole career. I know a lot has been said about his performance thus far this season, but he's been doing this every year. He's just amazing, man, he's just amazing. ... He's a generational talent. He's a Hall of Fame player, man, and I'm just glad he's on my team."
While Wilson guided the Seahawks to a Super Bowl championship in his second season, Mayfield has struggled in his.
Mayfield has thrown a league-high eight interceptions and is coming off his worst career performance, completing just 8 of 22 passes for 100 yards with two interceptions in a 31-3 loss at San Francisco on Monday night.
"We're not hitting the panic button," Mayfield said. "For us, we know the problem. We know we have to be better and do better. When you play a great team, you have to eliminate mistakes. We know exactly what we need to do. We need to play well."
Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was more critical of the effort against the 49ers.
"It was Monday Night Football. Everybody in the whole world watched that and got to see that," Beckham said.
The lopsided loss was vexing considering the Browns were coming off a 40-25 victory at Baltimore, one of their AFC North rivals.
"We do not want to be an up-and-down, roller-coaster football team if we want to get to where we want to get to," first-year Browns coach Freddie Kitchens said.
--Field Level Media