Carson Wentz: Armchair Scouting Report
Quarterback is one of the most difficult positions to evaluate. Assessing a player from a lower level of football like Carson Wentz is quite daunting. .
What the Film Shows on Carson Wentz
On the one hand, he is playing against inferior defenses compared to his 1-A quarterback counterparts. On the other, he also has to play with inferior weapons, inferior blocking, and (in most cases) inferior coaching. That makes it fairly difficult to assess the results on the field, as we aren’t sure exactly who should get the credit or the blame for what happens on it. As such, I’ll try to avoid such commentary here.
Here are the things I see on film that are not results-based and are immediately obvious to the naked eye: Wentz has a big-time arm, definitely the best of the top three prospects in this class. He stands tough in the pocket to deliver the football, taking some hits in the process. Wentz is also fairly difficult to take down in the backfield. For his size, he appears to be fairly mobile, not a statue back there. Wentz is aggressive, taking many shots down the field in a variety of circumstances. He has no issue letting his playmakers make plays.
What His Numbers Say
Here are Wentz’s career passing numbers courtesy of the Washington Post:
As mentioned earlier, I don’t want to draw too much from the on-field results, but Wentz’s numbers are strong for his level of football. He missed a bunch of time as a senior with a broken wrist, but he came back to play for North Dakota State in the 1-AA championship game (which he won). His touchdown to interception ratio is better than 3:1, and may have come even closer to 4:1 had he gotten more games in his final year. An 8.4 yards per attempt also puts him in the same class of passer as Jared Goff and Paxton Lynch statistically. The mobility is evidenced in the statistics, but it should be noted Wentz probably won’t be quite as efficient a rusher against more athletic defensive fronts. Overall, I would say Wentz’s statistical resume doesn’t move the needle for me in either direction as a prospect.
What His Measurables Reflect
Wentz participated in the Senior Bowl, so I wanted to make another section to talk briefly about his measurables. The young signal-caller is humongous, coming in slightly over six feet three inches and 233 pounds. What I’m most excited about in this area is Wentz’s hand size. At 10 inches, we can feel confident Wentz can play up to his prodigious size and control the football.
Player Comparison: Joe Flacco
When you have a small-school quarterback with great size and a big arm, it’s difficult not to point to Joe Flacco, who came out of Delaware in 2008. They exhibit a lot of similar traits, even down to the underrated mobility for how big they are. Flacco was also considered to be a bit of an unknown, though it should be noted he had a division one pedigree after transferring from Pittsburgh. The fact Wentz is being touted by some as a top-ten pick may mean he is actually a better prospect, which would bode very well for the team that drafts him.
Ideal Landing Spot: Browns
The Browns were the ideal spot for Goff, and I’m going right back to them for Wentz. I actually like Wentz’s skillset a lot more for what Cleveland can do. They have a big time wide receiver (hopefully) in Josh Gordon, and new head coach Hue Jackson loves to push the ball vertically down the field. That would seem like a perfect match for the big-armed Wentz if he can prove to Cleveland he is worthy of being the top signal-caller off the board at pick number two overall. There also wouldn’t necessarily be a rush to start Wentz if the team feels he is not ready, as Josh McCown played very well for the team last season before being injured. We could see a situation where McCown begins the year as the starter, and Wentz takes over towards the middle of the season. Either way, this is the top quarterback/team combo that this draft has to offer in my opinion.
Current 2QB Fantasy Rookie Draft Projection: Mid-Late 1st Round (Mid-Late 2nd Round in 1QB Leagues)
Wentz has a wide range of outcomes in the draft, so it is hard to pin down exactly where he may go in rookie drafts. If he does go to the Browns, then a selection in the mid-first is probably likely. Should he go second to Goff, I could see him going off the board in that 10 to 12 range. At this point, it is looking increasingly unlikely that Paxton Lynch surpasses Wentz, so that feels like his floor to me. In single-quarterback formats, the position is incredibly deep, but teams may be willing to gamble on his upside somewhere towards the back half of the second round.
Overall, I think Wentz is my favorite prospect to watch right now at the quarterback position, if for no other reason than the intrigue of the unknown that comes along with him. We’ve established a lot of things Lynch struggles with, along with some deficiencies in the game of Goff. The fact that we are unsure of a lot of the aspects of Wentz’s game gives him an implied ceiling larger than either quarterback, especially when we consider the size and the arm talent. In general, I think it is a good play to gamble on someone like Wentz if you feel that the other players at his position are already limited in some way. I wouldn’t be surprised if Wentz turned out to be Flacco, or even Ben Roethlisberger, but would be equally unsurprised if he ended up a bust.