As the Draft draws nearer, the hype around this years top Quarterback prospects is at an all time high..especially if you’re an Eagles fan. It’s been well documented that the Eagles have a lot of interest in taking a Quarterback in the first round and Wentz appears to be the name at the top of the pecking order.
Doug says both Wentz and Goff could be franchise quarterbacks #Eagles
— Eliot Shorr-Parks (@EliotShorrParks) April 18, 2016
Doug says Carson Wentz has everything you would want in a QB at this level. #Eagles
— Eliot Shorr-Parks (@EliotShorrParks) April 18, 2016
#Eagles basically have QBs rated this way based on Pederson speak: 1. Wentz, 2. Goff, 3. Paxton Lynch. Top two are franchise guys.
— Bob Grotz (@BobGrotz) April 18, 2016
With the Rams moving up to the number one overall pick, it’s very likely that the top two Quarterback prospects in the Draft could be gone by the time the Eagles and the clock. We’ve also learned today that the Eagles don’t see Lynch as a viable option with their 8th overall pick. (Great story by Jimmy Kempski below)
Doug Pederson suggests the Eagles will not draft Paxton Lynch at pick No. 8 https://t.co/YC0ZcPCERF
— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) April 18, 2016
So this likely means that the Eagles would have to trade up if they want Carson Wentz on their roster..but is he worth it?
To the naked eye, Carson Wentz passes all the tests. A 6’5 Quarterback with 10′ hands who weighs 237 pounds and has eyebrow raising amounts of athleticism for someone his size. In his final year at NDSU, Wentz completed 62.5% of his passes for 1,651 yards, 17TD’s and 4INT’s..but this is where most people are mislead.
North Dakota State University have finished with the best record in their conference for five years in a row. Wentz spent his College years playing for a team with arguably the best coaches and best players around him possible. Is this a detriment to his ability? Not really..but it does raise some interesting points.
Last season, NDSU had the best Defense in the league as well as the best rushing Offense. Of all of the team’s Offensive plays, they ran the ball 61% of the time. Their run game was so dominant that Wentz threw under 200 yards in four of the teams seven conference wins during his final season. Their Offensive line? They allowed just 8 sacks in the 7 games he played.
The last sentence in that paragraph is arguably the most important one. One of the few flaws in Wentz’ game is that he spends far too long making reads. An established Offensive Line is able to give him plenty of time on the ball to ensure that he makes the right call and can execute the throw accurately. Wentz seemed to keep the ball in his hands for much longer than he needed to which often resulted in a scruffy forced pass into tight coverage or even worse a fumble (committing 10 in the last two seasons).
Obviously with a couple of years developing under the right coaches, these flaws would most likely be ironed out..but why is this a red flag? As of right now the Eagles Offensive Line is a binary opposite of the line Wentz took snaps under center behind at NDSU.
Some people love Bradford and others simply don’t, but you can’t argue that he stands tall in the pocket and possesses great spatial awareness. As the pressure flooded in from all angles last year, Bradford was excellent in getting the ball away quickly, especially in those final seven games after the poor reads and “deer in headlights” comparisons began to fade away.
Wentz doesn’t have the pocket presence that Jared Goff or Paxton Lynch displayed constantly last season and that’s largely due to a dominant Offensive Line protecting their Quarterback and allowing him to showcase his accuracy more than his ability to extend plays. Wentz is mobile and is arguably the best in the Draft when it comes to play-action rollouts..but the strength of his Offensive Line meant that as opposed to extending plays, Wentz could freely get to the outside without much pressure..giving him time to stretch those huge legs and showcase his athleticism.
Again, these are issues that can and most likely will be ironed out in time. If he’s on the board by the time the Eagles are on the clock at 8 then they shouldn’t hesitate in taking him. Building a line and adding a running back in future Drafts would likely fortify the team to ensure Wentz can use his big arm in the way he did at NDSU during his 143 pass completion streak. But if they have to trade up, it’s a different problem entirely.
Wentz is largely an unknown quantity. A small school Quarterback who appeared to dominate during his time under center who has a perfect prototypical frame for the modern day signal caller. Like every rookie however there are flaws..but for the Eagles it’s those flaws that could come back to haunt the team if they trade up.
In order to obtain a top pick (1 or 2) in the Draft to ensure that Wentz will land in Philadelphia, the Eagles would likely need to give up either a lot of current and future picks, or a key asset to their team.
If the Eagles for instance traded away a selection of current and future first/second/third round picks, they would likely find themselves in trouble. With 35 players in their final year of contract, the birds are going to need a lot of depth (only a selection are starters) depending on how many they decide to retain and minimal cap space to work with.
With a dominant running game and a big offensive Line in front of him, there’s no telling what Wentz could accomplish. But drafting up would likely mean missing out on a franchise back like Ezekiel Elliott, missing out on a lineman like Ronnie Stanley and with a lack of picks in the future due to the trade, the lack of ability to find a player of that caliber that would not only help Wentz succeed, but the Eagles.
Sam Bradford has the ability to lead the Eagles to success, but it all comes down to how well he plays in 2016 and what the birds decide to do with him. He carries the 4th highest cap hit of any Quarterback in the league after next season and if he performs well there will undoubtedly be a market for him. If that form continues into 2017, he can test Free Agency and likely land a big deal but if he doesn’t perform as expected in either season, the birds can let him go without much in the way of a cap hit..leaving the Eagles to turn to Wentz.. if Drafted.
The question is, if the Eagles do trade up to draft Carson Wentz, how long will it take to obtain a franchise running back (or at least establish a dominant run game, something present in both Wentz’s time at NDSU and Pederson’s time as an Offensive Coordinator for the Chiefs) and fortify the Offensive Line to give him the best chance of success? Will other holes open up and if so, is taking Wentz worth the temporary setback?
If we’ve learned anything over the last few years, it’s that trading up for the number one pick requires giving up a lot of future picks and potentially some players. Can the Eagles get to where they need to be to give Wentz the best chance of success by the time he’s ready to lead the Offense? It’s a lot of chips to throw on the table that could see the Eagles land their Quarterback for years to come, or a setback it could take years to recover from.