Kevin Zielaznicki, Bob Scarinci and Connor Rogers break down quarterback Carson Wentz, arguably the top prospect at his position in the 2016 NFL Draft. You can find more draft coverage right here…
Name: Carson Wentz Position: QB School: North Dakota State Height: 6’5 Weight: 231
BACKGROUND: 2011 graduate of Bismarck Century High School in North Dakota. As a senior he led the Patriots to an 8-3 record and a state semifinal appearance. He threw for nearly 1300 yards and 12 touchdowns while gaining 553 yards and 13 touchdowns with his legs. Was awarded the 2010 North Dakota Class 3A Player of the Year award along with being named to the All-Conference team as a quarterback and defensive back. Also played for the top ranked basketball and baseball teams at Bismarck Century High School. He was also the Class Valedictorian. Became the North Dakota State starting quarterback as a junior in 2014 and led them to a NCAA Division I Championship.
Connor – Wentz physical make up is the first thing that stands out about the FCS signal caller. He’s tall, has a good frame, extremely athletic and is a 4.0 student . Most importantly, he has the most arm talent out of anyone in the 2016 draft class. He can sling it deep, hit the intermediate sideline throws with upper tier velocity, and also has a good understanding of touch on his passes. He can command a huddle and plays with little fear. Very high ceiling and has all the skills you look for in an NFL quarterback.
Kevin – Huge body frame (6’6, 230lbs) with plenty of room to add bulk necessary to play at the next level. Has one of the stronger arms in this draft class and consistently showed the ability to throw from hash to opposite sideline. Spins the ball with great velocity all over the field. Accuracy is excellent but tends to drive the ball a little too far on deeper routes. Makes very good throws while on the move. Seems to ignore pass rushers and stands tall in the pocket to find an open man. Has excellent mobility to manipulate the pocket and escape the rush. Athleticism makes him a huge threat scrambling and in the running game. Very aggressive and smart runner as he knows when to get out of bounds and when to fight for those extra yards.
Bob – The thing you’ll here most frequently with Carson Wentz is his “prototypical size” and it is true, at nearly 6’6 and 230 LBs he has the sturdy frame you want from your QB. However, I think his biggest strength is his well above average arm. I think he’ll step into the NFL with one of the better arms in the league. Wentz is also an exceptional athlete for his size. He’s able to deliver the ball on time and on target on a consistent basis
Connor – Played against lower level competition at the FCS level. Moved to quarterback his senior year of high school, still technically refining parts of his game at the position. Will have a big learning curve of the speed of the NFL level – processing and going through reads, handling pressure (something he did struggle with at times in college), avoiding turnovers. Not cut out to start right away his rookie year – should be given time to develop and expectations until 2017 should be kept in check.
Kevin – As with most rocket armed quarterbacks, Wentz has the gunslinger mentality that often gets him into trouble against opposing defenses. Footwork and general lower body mechanics are a concern. Seems to get cinder-block feet at times resulting in him throwing flat footed and not properly transferring his lower body power into his throws. With those poor mechanics, he relies on pure arm strength to make many throws that results in inaccuracy. Often stares down one target and doesn’t go through his progressions. Tendency to panic when first read isn’t open and he will tuck it and run. Holds the ball too long at times.
Bob – Wentz while a good athlete needs to be smarter when he runs the ball as he frequently seeks out contact. He’s a big guy and can take a shot, but at the QB position durability is a skill, and being on the field week in and out is the most important thing. Outside of his propensity to create contact, Wentz isn’t the most fluid mover in the pocket. He usually gets where he wants to be in the pocket and in a position to deliver the ball, but he’s a bit of a “bouncer” in how he moves through the pocket so it may cause some issues as he adjusts to the speed of the NFL game. You’ll frequently hear “Wentz played inferior competition” brought up when people are discussing weaknesses, but I wouldn’t consider it a weakness, I would consider it a question mark. Like many things when looking at QBs, it isn’t about what they’ve been asked to do, but what they’re capable of, and I would be willing to bet he’s capable of playing well against better competition.
Connor – This one is simple: arm talent. Sure, plenty of guys come and go in the league that have great arms. With that being said, it’s a starting point – a box you want to check right away. There are zero questions if Wentz has enough arm to play at the next level. The real question is can he put everything together to be an upper tier quarterback, not thrower.
Kevin – I think Wentz’ best attribute that he doesn’t really get impacted by the pass rush and has the ability to stand tall in the pocket in the face of a defender. Too often we see college quarterbacks get to the NFL and become a victim of phantom pressure (Ex: Blaine Gabbert).
Connor – Wentz will not make it past the Jets at 20 overall. After the Senior Bowl and combine, I expect him to join the top 10 conversation.
Kevin – Realistic chance that Carson Wentz is the first quarterback off the board come April. Top 20 lock.
Bob – I would venture to guess that the NFL likes Wentz more than the media has let on in recent weeks and I think when all is said and done Carson Wentz will be a top 10 pick in the NFL draft.
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