With just two years of starting experience under his belt, logic implies that Carson Wentz should not even be in the equation for a first round pick. But he is, and his situation is justified.
Coming out of North Dakota State, the first ever FBS program to win five NCAA championships in a row, Wentz is a quarterback with some serious upside, and after an appearance in the Senior Bowl, he is firmly on the radar of every team in the NFL that requires an upgrade at the passer position.
Whereas fellow quarterback prospect Jared Goff stumbled at the combine, due to a small hand measurement that has seen his draft stock plummet, Wentz had a very solid few days in Indianapolis that seem to have cemented his status as a genuine talent in the eyes of scouts and analysts.
The 23-year-old didn’t blow anyone away with his drills, but he measured up well in every category – which is vital at this stage of the draft cycle. For a quarterback, it’s easy to lose draft stock at the combine, but it’s not easy to rise up boards. By showcasing good footwork in the agility drills – and making every throw he was asked to attempt – Wentz maintained his position, meaning his own draft stock could only rise through the failures of his competitors.
This is a fantastic development for the North Dakota-native.
Weight: 237 lbs
Hand Size: 10″
40-Yard-Dash: 4.77 seconds
Vertical Jump: 30.5 inches
Broad Jump: 118 inches
Three-Cone Drill: 6.86 seconds
When studying tape of Carson Wentz, the first thing that hits you is his look. He’s a two-year starter at a Division I college, but one thing is undeniable; Carson Wentz simply looks like an NFL quarterback.
Standing at 6’5″, Wentz fits the prototype NFL mould perfectly, a trait that is becoming rarer with each passing year. He has already drawn comparisons to Jacksonville QB Blake Bortles, and if you stood the two passers next to each other, you’d see why.
At North Dakota State, Wentz played in a pro-style offence that saw him take many snaps from under centre, so no transition is required in that area of his game. He was also required to read the field effectively in a system that promoted offensive progressions in the pass game. Invaluable skills for a young quarterback.
The main reason Wentz has made it this far into first round reckoning is his throwing accuracy, which can be very impressive. He’s capable of throwing a tight spiral from a high release point – a direct consequence of his favourable stature.
When escaping the pocket is a necessity, Wentz has the ability to break to the outside and pick up yards with his legs. It’s not his primary weapon, but it can be very effective. Defenders don’t expect a quarterback of his size to be able to move as quickly as he can.
A very intelligent guy, with an assortment of academic achievements to his name, the signal-caller will have no problem picking up an NFL playbook – a factor that will surely appeal to whoever his future Head Coach may be.
Throughout the remainder of this draft process, Carson Wentz will be unable to escape the spectre that will undoubtedly haunt his road to Chicago. It’s the reason he isn’t regarded as the top offensive player in this draft class, and potentially the reason he’ll slip out of the top ten.
Wentz did not play for a big school. He did not face elite college defences week in, week out.
The QB was certainly productive in college, but scouts will argue that he may not have excelled quite so much if he’d have played in the SEC or Big Ten. For sure, Wentz will have to prepare himself to face much tougher opposition when he makes the step up to the NFL.
The former Bison has solid arm strength, but not a cannon. He also missed eight weeks in 2015 following an injury to his throwing wrist.
Adjusting to NFL speed will be the main issue for Wentz, once drafted. His footwork is generally good, but can be sloppy at times in the pocket. A tendency to stare down receivers will also have to be eradicated from his game. In today’s NFL, where edge-rushers are better than ever, Wentz will be committing football suicide if he doesn’t consistently get the ball out quick enough to his receivers.
I’m not convinced that Carson Wentz is the next Andrew Luck, as some would have us believe, but I do think that he has the potential to be the best quarterback of the 2016 bunch.
Granted, the move up from Division I-FCS football to the NFL is pretty drastic, but there isn’t an ounce of tape that shows the QB isn’t capable of at least being a solid contributor at the next level.
He has all the attributes you could ask for, with the smarts to match. Simply put, Carson Wentz is a 6’5″ quarterback that can run a 4.7 and read an entire field from under centre, at the age of 23.
I can think of a few NFL teams that are going to find it very difficult to turn that down.
RAF Big Board Ranking: #9
Draft Prediction: Second overall to the Philidelphia Eagles.
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