With just two months to go until the 2016 NFL Draft, North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz is skyrocketing up draft boards, going from a no-name Missouri Valley Conference player to the sudden favorite to be drafted by the Cleveland Browns with the second overall pick.
On Monday, NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said that he believes Wentz — who won two FCS national championships at NDSU — has a similar ceiling to Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.
That’s high praise!
Considering we likely still haven’t seen Luck’s ceiling as an NFL quarterback, it’s hard to know whether Wentz will chart a similar course. But based on what we do know of Wentz, namely his imposing physical presence on the field and his mobility, comparing Wentz to where Luck was coming out of college doesn’t feel completely crazy just yet.
Here’s ESPN’s draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. on Wentz: “[W]hen you’re 6-5 1/4 and 235 pounds and can move around like he can, and you have great character and the ability to assimilate information quickly, you’re going to go very high,” Kiper said.
Let’s take a look at one or two highlights to see what the hype is all about:
Okay, so he can run. But how’s his arm?
That’s a bomb! So, what’s not to like?
It seems that the uncertainty surrounding Wentz comes because he received only three FCS scholarships out of high school and, while at NDSU, started only 23 games. This may simply make him too risky for NFL teams accustomed to Power Five conferences and high profile college quarterbacks. From ESPN’s Kevin Seifert:
Wentz led the Bison to a pair of national FCS championships, part of the school’s streak of five consecutive titles, and hardly appeared overwhelmed last month at the Senior Bowl.
But are we ready to accept that those credentials, derived largely against Missouri Valley Conference competition, can be compared to what Goff faced with Cal in the Pac-12?
With the NFL Combine taking place this weekend, Wentz will have a final opportunity to leave his mark on NFL scouts. That he gets drafted is, at this point, an inevitability. Whether he becomes a franchise quarterback — or if his ceiling proves as high as Luck’s — is a different question entirely.