Name: Carson Wentz
School: North Dakota State University
Draft Pick: 2nd overall
When the Philadelphia Eagles drafted Carson Wentz with the second overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, it really seemed like a strange move. The Eagles had already promised Sam Bradford the starting job in 2016 and signed a big money backup. Wentz was brought in to be the future, but as the second overall pick, most expect him to do much more in 2016, which almost put him at odds with his fellow quarterback, Sam Bradford.
The entire Bradford mess was quickly resolved when Sam showed up and worked out as normal with the Eagles, trying to also help Wentz learn the NFL system. That is huge as well. Bradford came into the NFL from a national title contender in the Oklahoma Sooners and struggled with the St. Louis Rams, while Wentz came to the NFL via North Dakota State and has a long way to go to reach NFL level.
Wentz has all the talent in the world. In his first year to start for North Dakota State, he impressed everyone when he threw for 3,111 yards and 25 touchdowns to win the FCS Championship. He led them to another title in his second season despite missing time with a broken wrist. He then slowed down somewhat in his senior season, only starting seven games and throwing for 1,651 yards and 17 touchdowns.
It was enough to give the Philadelphia Eagles the desire to trade up to get the second overall pick and choose Carson Wentz to become their future starting quarterback. It was controversial, since the Eagles need a lot more help than just quarterback and had Sam Bradford ready to play in 2016. However, at 6-5 and 237 pounds, Wentz has the size that teams desire in their quarterbacks and was too good to pass up.
Wentz played a pro-style offense in college, which gives him a slight advantage over first overall pick Jared Goff, who ironically went to the same St. Louis Rams team that made it almost impossible for Sam Bradford to succeed, despite all the talent in the world. Wentz also has Bradford as a mentor, someone who has seen what the NFL can do to a talented young quarterback who is thrown to the wolves.
One area that Wentz surpasses Bradford is his ability to scramble and make plays happen when blocking breaks down. That is hugely important for a team that still has some of the run-and-gun tendencies that former head coach Chip Kelly brought to the team. Wentz also has a former quarterback as his coach in Doug Pederson, so he has all the help he needs to succeed at the NFL level.
Carson Wentz will not start the season for the Philadelphia Eagles unless a miracle happens in the preseason. Sam Bradford is going to play his best ball to build up his stock for whoever will sign him in 2017, and this gives Carson Wentz a great chance to learn the NFL system without getting thrown into the deep end before he has a chance to succeed.
Shawn S. Lealos is a freelance writer who graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2000 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. He writes for a variety of national publications and has over 15 years of sports journalism experience. Follow Shawn on Twitter @sslealos. Examiner.com.