College: North Dakota State
College Stats: 5,115 passing yards, 45 touchdowns. 1,028 rushing yards, 13 touchdowns.
Carson Wentz is looking to accomplish something that has not been seen since the days of Ed "Too Tall" Jones at Tennessee State University. He is projected by many to be the #1 overall pick of the NFL draft. Jones was the last FCS player to go at the top spot in the 1974 NFL Draft. If he does in fact go #1 overall, it would be one of the biggest stories to come out of the FCS since its formation.
Wentz has been the star at the five-time FCS champion Bison for each of the last two seasons. He came into the 2014 season looking to finally get his first start under his belt. He did so and led the Bison to their fourth straight FCS National Championship that season. Returning with lots of hype, he overcame a broken wrist senior season to return at the end and earn the Most Outstanding Player award in the FCS national championship game, a dominant win over Jacksonville State.
It's hard to believe a FCS quarterback that was recruited by NO ONE outside or North Dakota would be able to step in for his his career start and do this.
The case for Wentz going #1 overall:
Wentz is one of the few players to check off all of the physical requirements NFL teams are looking for in a quarterback. He has a large frame at 6-5, 237 pounds and he has natural arm strength. Wentz is able to make every throw on the field. His physical ability is off the chart and would rate him favorably among many of the top picks of recent drafts.
He is a winner. As much as that seems like a cop out, some players are able to win games at a higher rate than anyone else. Wentz was one of those players, going 20-3 as a starter and leading the Bison to their fourth and fifth straight FCS national championships. For the Bison to suffer no drop off and actually improve once he took over the offense is a testament to Wentz.
In addition, he has multiple dimensions as a quarterback. While he will not be asked to do so at the rate of his time at North Dakota State, Wentz can carry the ball for tough yards when needed. He does an excellent job of getting nearly every yard possible, but is also smart about staying away from trouble by getting down before he takes a big hit.
The case against Wentz going #1 overall:
Quality of competition has been brought up on several occasions. He not had very many opportunities to play versus FBS competition. That will be held against him. In one of his few performances versus an FBS team, Wentz had some up and down moments in leading North Dakota State to a 34-14 win over Iowa State.
Wentz shows a bit of what I call the "Jay Cutler Syndrome." He knows that he has an excellent arm and very good accuracy and falls in love with that combination sometimes. He makes some throws that are not smart because he has supreme faith that he can fit the ball in that extremely tight window. It is something that a coaching staff can work on once he is drafted.
He also has to prove that he can read the field and make the throw when he has to go to option three or four. Many times, it seems that he has two reads at the most to make on a play at NDSU. While his offense with the Bison was more complex than many realize, he must prove that he can handle the expanded playbook that a starting NFL quarterback has to overcome.
What are others saying about Carson Wentz:
CBS Sports is not completely sold on Wentz, comparing him to former #1 overall pick Alex Smith. While that is not a bad thing, they make it clear that his upside may not be as high as others think. NFL.com is high on the physical traits that allow Wentz to check off boxes other quarterbacks cannot. Their best NFL comparison is to Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles.
Doug Farrar of Sports Illustrated feels like Wentz is more NFL ready than Jared Goff and is worth taking at the top of the draft. He gives Wentz a huge compliment in comparing him to Steeler quarterback and Miami of Ohio standout Ben Roethlisberger.
Mike Mayock has been one of the biggest proponents of Wentz, going as far as comparing his athleticism to Cam Newton and Andrew Luck.
Where are mock drafts selecting Wentz?
According to the most recent mock drafts Wentz has a 39.4% chance of going #1 to Los Angeles, a 38.5% chance of going to Cleveland at #2, a 4.6% chance of going to Dallas at #4, and a 12.8% chance of going to San Francisco at the #7 slot.
Several mock drafts have not been updated since the Los Angeles/Tennessee trade was made last week. Of the mock drafts that have updated since the trade Wentz is picked #1 overall in 74.5%, #2 in 19.6%, #4 in 1.9%, and #7 in 3.9% of drafts. The majority of the staff here expect Wentz to go #2 to Cleveland.