The Eagles finally did the thing, trading up to #2 to select a QB a year after they tried and failed to do the same. The stakes are different this time though, with a new coach, (sort of) new GM, and a pair of QBs that are expected to go 1-2 like last year but not considered to be of the caliber of Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. Trading up for Mariota made all the sense in the world. Trading up for Carson Wentz has everyone torn. The BGN crew is no different.
The Rams are going to take Jared Goff, so this was trading up for Carson Wentz. Are you... excited? Pissed? Somewhere in between?
Matt Harkenreader: I'm going to take a cop-out here and say that I'm exercising patience. I'm certainly not happy about the draft capital the Eagles had to fork over, but if Wentz turns out to be a true franchise player that really becomes a moot point. As for Wentz himself... quarterback is such a complex position that I can't see any reason to waste energy being excited or worried about him. As I've noted in the past, for every Andrew Luck that's taken in the first round, there are two (or three) Jake Lockers.
Mark Saltveit: I prefer Wentz to Goff anyway for reasons I discussed in my article about covering Goff vs. Oregon last year. Still, I think this is a massive gamble and the price was too much to pay. You need an offensive line and an RB to protect your QB, and some receivers for him to throw to -- where do the Eagles plan to get them from? Wentz looked great against Missouri Valley Conference defenders, but he'll have a rude awakening facing teams like Seattle.
All those future picks aren't so bad if the Eagles win the division and pick low. But if they're drafting high next year and in 2018, they've lost a lot of value for a QB who's maybe 50-50 to be a franchise quarterback at best. How humiliating would it be to get robbed blind by Cleveland??!
Patrick Wall: I'm honestly not sure how to feel. I'm more okay with the trade than I thought I'd be, though. Maybe it's because the Eagles have been telegraphing the move for weeks. But I think it mostly has to do with the fact that I like the idea behind the trade. As I wrote earlier, fans should want their front office to do everything it can to get the player they believe to be The Guy. You can't say "the Eagles need to get their franchise quarterback" then complain when they get the guy they want.
Here's the issue: what is it about Wentz that makes Howie and Doug Pederson want Wentz badly, when pretty much everyone else in the football-watching world is unimpressed? I have to admit, in the few games of Wentz's I've watched I've seen an inconsistent quarterback playing on a bad team against bad competition. It's tough to get overly excited about that, but on the other hand, you can definitely see the reason for optimism. Imagine if Wentz's pretty deep passes weren't dropped, or if his receivers could get separation. But, again, I could just as easily see him getting completely flustered by the speed of NFL defenses.
Dave: I'm also torn. On one hand, I am not wild about Wentz. He has a small body of work putting up a non-dominating performance on a dominating team at the FCS level. They won three straight titles before he got there, they never passed much when he played (only one game with 30+ attempts), and when he was out injured they didn't suffer. It's hard to get jazzed about that resume.
That said, I'm really glad that they were aggressive in getting their guy. Going through this season only to have another conversation about "should the Eagles bring Sam Bradford back" and not having a legitimate long term plan at QB would make the 2016 season feel like a waste of time. And the Eagles are too talented, too well coached (at least on defense) and play in too easy of a division to be so bad in 2016 that we can reasonably expect them to be in an even better position to get a QB next year. This is most likely their best chance to draft a top tier QB prospect, which is where the vast majority of top tier QBs come from, for at least the next two years. I'm glad they took the chance rather than sitting on their hands and settling for known mediocrity at the most important position. There's little reward when you don't take risks.
Considering that the Eagles have Bradford and Daniel ahead of the rookie on the depth chart, and the team still needs a lot of work on offense and has a new head coach, how, if at all, does this change your expectations for the 2016 season?
Patrick: It doesn't change much to me. The Eagles were always a longshot to make the playoffs, but at least now they'll be a longshot with a tangible future. Barring a miraculous turnaround by Bradford, he was most likely always gone next season. It remains to be seen what else the Eagles will do in the draft, but I think the offense will be a little better than people will be expecting. And once Wentz finally gets in the game we'll have plenty to watch and analyze, so the team starting 4-5 won't necessarily feel like the pit of wasted energy it normally does.
Matt: This selection wasn't made for 2016. Bradford is the starter and a trade this season is too expensive. But there is a solid plan in place should Bradford not pan out, which is what they seem to be expecting to happen. Should he get injured at any point in time, Daniel can step in while Wentz is still learning the ropes. Should he struggle, the team can move on after this year and let Daniel play the Doug Pederson role for a few games in 2017. If Bradford excels, they can either let him walk in 2018 or re-sign him and flip Wentz (albeit for much less than what they gave up for him). Regardless of what happens, I think this will be a seven or eight win team in 2016. The defense is in a better position to be the team's strength and will therefore have much more influence on their record.
Mark: Honestly I think this trade knocks two wins off my 8-8 prediction, because the team won't be able to restock at other positions. It also puts a lot of pressure on all 3 QBs, none of whom have shown they can shoulder that burden.
Dave: The inevitable "When Will Carson Wentz Start" clock has basically already started, and that adds a layer of intrigue to a season that was looking to be low on intrigue. I think this team can compete for the division because the division is so bad, after all they were in it until Week 16 last year, but if/when it's clear they're not in the mix, then the focus changes completely.
This trade is one that will make or break both Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson's careers. When do you expect Wentz to take over the starting job and how long of a leash will Roseman and Pederson get?
Matt: The very latest Wentz gets the keys to the car is 2018, but it will probably happen before then (assuming Bradford doesn't transcend past stop-gap). I think Roseman and Pederson will get a full season after whenever Wentz takes over, and if they don't make progress they'll be cut loose. I'm not sure what Lurie's definition of "progress" will be, but the team will have to at the very least be in the conversation for the playoffs in December. The other side to this is that Lurie finally has something to really hold Roseman accountable for, unless Lurie was the one who pressured the team into making the trade.
Mark: Wentz (or conceivably, Goff) could take over in week 3 if Sam gets injured, and who can rule that out? it will be very interesting to see the QB competition in training camp. I do think letting the rook red-shirt a year is the best strategy, even if Bradford and Daniels struggle. At this point, you have too much invested to risk the noob getting his confidence broken by being overwhelmed, and the OL is unlikely to be very solid so injury is also a concern. Wentz is making such a leap that it's crucial to bring him along carefully.
Patrick: Over the past five years, there have been fifteen first round quarterbacks who have started in their rookie year. Only two - Johnny Manziel and Tim Tebow - started fewer than 10. So I'll put my money on Week 7, at home against the Vikings.
And if anything, I think this buys more time for Howie than it does for Pederson. If Wentz is a bust it'll be buh-bye for both of them, and that could mean as little as three years for Pederson.
Dave: Using the Reid/McNabb model that they are so clearly following, Pederson started 10 games before McNabb took over full time. I would expect a similar plan, unless they're in first or very close ot first in the division with non-horrible QB play, in which case you just can't bench the starter so that the rookie gets playing time. That would lose the locker room.
Once Wentz takes over, I'd say he gets two full seasons before any heads roll. Which means three years for Pederson and for Roseman's second tenure. In 2019 they'll have all their picks and if Wentz is so bad that people deserve to get fired, they'll likely be high picks, which is a good and attractive situation for a new GM and coach.