2016 Draft Profile: Can North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz live up to the hype?

All aboard the hype train! That’s right, it’s that time of year where NFL teams, draft experts and fans overhype unproven college athletes. The Los Angeles Rams find themselves needing a quarterback, so how about Carson Wentz? You know that one guy from North Dakota State? Let’s be honest, odds are high that you didn’t know him until recently. However, could he be of service to the Rams?

Pros: Something that becomes adamantly clear when glancing at Wentz is that he’s an ideal sized NFL quarterback. He stands at approximately 6’6, and weighs about 235 pounds. Wentz’s size allows him to scan the field more thoroughly, and he’s big enough to take hit when the time calls for it. He is athletic enough to run with the football to escape pressure.

Another thing intriguing about Wentz is his familiarity with the pro-style offense. During his time with the Bisons, he earned 5,115 career passing yards, 45 passing touchdowns and only 14 interceptions. Looking at film, he does have an accurate arm even when throwing the deep ball. Wentz is more of a mid-range passer, and he isn’t afraid to fling the ball through defenders. Another thing that can be said about Wentz is that he has one of the prettiest deliveries out of all of the draft prospects. He tends to throw seemingly effortless perfect spirals.

Yet one of the reasons he is going to shoot up the draft boards is because of his NFL Combine interviews. His performance in the interviews convinced some scouts that he has the capability of being a leader. Wentz’s maturity level does show up on film, because he appears to be an extremely poised pocket passer. He doesn’t usually try to force anything, and Wentz will take a sack if he absolutely needs to.

Cons: The biggest issue that I see with Wentz is he tends to look directly at his target. The Missouri Valley Football Conference product didn’t see nearly the elite level secondaries that other draft prospects did. It’s hard to say, but it’s doubtful that his interceptions would be as low in tougher conferences. He definitely cannot stare down receivers at the NFL level, because hungry defensive backs will make him pay every time. What will also break him at the next level is if he continues to float the football. It can work occasionally if timed correctly, but again, defenses will make him pay for throwing floaters.

Wentz  also struggles with throwing on the run, but that can be coached up. He looks pretty awkward when running a bootleg, which has often resulted in poorly thrown footballs or abandoning the football completely. Wentz does have the athleticism to run with the football, but I expect him to be a pocket passer. Nothing more, nothing less.

Bottom line: Drafting any quarterback is a risk, but Wentz, in particular, is the one that I wouldn’t want the Rams to take with the 15th overall pick. I’d be a buyer if he for some reason drops to the second or third round, and there is no chance of that happening with NFL teams desperate for quarterback talent. In fact, it’s more likely that he will be drafted No. 1 overall. Teams will attempt to make what’s supposed to be a project player into an immediate starter, which is a huge mistake. However, Wentz does have some tools to perhaps defy the odds and match the hype.


You can follow Johnny Gomez on Twitter @Johnny5not6. Be sure to follow Rams Talk on Twitter @TalkRams.

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