Breaking Down North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz

While the mainstream media and the draft media are all over Cal’s Jared Goff and Michigan State’s Connor Cook, the NFL team scouts are quietly very impressed with North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz. While the level of competition is a concern, Wentz has all the tools to become a quality starter in the National Football League. Wentz is a fifth-year senior and two-year starter for the Bison. While he didn’t start as a redshirt sophomore, he played in 11 games. Wentz is listed as being 6’6" – 231 and while he may not be quite that tall when he measures at an All Star game or the Combine he still is taller than most quarterbacks playing in the NFL right now. Despite his size, Wentz is a very good athlete with good speed, change of direction and body control. You may think that a quarterback the size of Wentz is stationary in the pocket. That is the furthest from the truth as he is a very good runner and does an excellent job keeping plays alive with his feet. When he does run he looks to finish and not slide when there is no more yardage available. He is a relentless competitor. Wentz plays in a multi-offense and lines up both from under center and in the spread. The passing game has some sophistication to it and it requires the quarterback to go through a progression and has some whole field reads. Unlike many of the college spread offenses we see, the North Dakota State offense doesn’t have the quarterback make a high number of short throws at or around the line of scrimmage. This offense has the quarterback throwing the ball downfield. It is far more similar to a pro offense than many of the spreads we see quarterbacks running. As a passer, Wentz shows he can set up quickly, go through a progression and get the ball out of his hands quickly. He has a very quick release and a strong arm. For the most part, he throws a tight ball with very good velocity. He is accurate and shows good ball placement skills. He seldom turns the ball over, and in four games this year, he has yet to throw an interception. He is required to make a variety of throws and shows he can make any NFL type throw. He has good timing with his throw and shows he can throw with touch or drive the ball if necessary. He can easily make throws of 50+ yards with accuracy. Wentz is a quick thinker and processes things quickly. He is a very good decision maker and you don’t see him force throws. He also has a good feel for pass rushers and has the quick feet to avoid a pass rusher and extend the play. He does an excellent job throwing on the run with accuracy. Looking at his stats, in his 1.5 years as a starter, he has thrown for close to 4100 yards, 65% completion percentage, 35 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He has also rushed for over 800 yards the last two seasons. While generally level of competition is a concern when evaluating quarterbacks, I don’t see any problems with this player. He has played well against FBS schools and won a FCS National Championship last year. He consistently shows poise and leadership and is in total command on the field. While there will be a learning curve when he gets to the NFL, I can still see him becoming a starter very early in his career. The upside is he will develop into a quality starter. He has more talent than Jimmy Garoppolo from the 2014 draft and should get drafted higher. From what I have seen to date, I would have no problem pulling the trigger on this player in the first round. Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe

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