The Philadelphia Eagles traded up to the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft to select North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz. We've written a lot about Wentz since he's been drafted, but I thought it would be useful to acquire an insider's insight as well. In order to learn more about the Eagles' new franchise quarterback, I reached out to ABC-affiliated TV station WDAY, which is located in Fargo, North Dakota. Dom Izzo (@DomIzzoWDAY) was kind enough to answer questions about Wentz.
1) What are his strengths?
"His strengths are obvious, his physical tools come right to mind. He's 6'5, 237 and has a rocket for an arm. That aside, he's the smartest football player I've ever been around. A story that's become legend here in Fargo was in 2012 during his first spring ball, then head coach Craig Bohl called myself and the newspaper beat reporter, Jeff Kolpack over to watch Wentz get some reps and he changed a play twice at the line of scrimmage as a redshirt freshman. Doing that against a defense that just won a national title. He knew and we knew NDSU may have something special on its hands."
2) What are his weaknesses?
"His weaknesses are hard to find but there are a couple. The experts have said his deep ball needs some work and I know that's something that Wentz has worked hard on during the entire pre-draft process, but he never had elite deep threat wide receivers at NDSU to throw to, he had terrific possession guys that made plays. Second and he's admitted this to me, is his ability to get out of bounds. I'm sure you've seen the highlights of Carson running over guys, he knows that's not going to happen at the NFL, he's got to realize to get out of bounds and take the yardage. That happened in the Senior Bowl when he got pretty hard, his fumbles are something to keep an eye on. (Jon Gruden harped on that with him)."
3) To what extent is Wentz a good leader?
"He was named a captain before his junior year and he had never started a game. That tells you everything you need about his leadership qualities. He speaks and his teammates listen. After NDSU fell behind 14-0 at Iowa State in his first start, he completed a couple of passes on 3rd downs and just settled everything down. His play does a lot of the talking, but his presence does that too. His faith I believe helps in his leadership qualities, he believes he's playing for a higher purpose and that I believe allows him to have an inner confidence when he's on the field."
4) How confident are you that Wentz can handle the pressure of being in the spotlight as "the guy" at quarterback in Philly?
"He's been in the spotlight since his senior year in high school when he grew five inches! Even despite sitting for three years here, he knew what his role was and then thrived when he was put into the spotlight. All those attributes I listed earlier will help him in the transition to the NFL. More importantly, he's a confident man who believes in his talent and has the smarts to become a fantastic quarterback. That alone and how mentally tough he is will allow him to succeed in Philadelphia, he endured 12 weeks away during his senior year rehabbing his broken wrist. His mental toughness will be the biggest factor in why he succeeds."
5) How do you see his NFL career playing out? Can he be an elite quarterback?
"With Bradford returning to work, I see Wentz not playing this year, similar to his namesake in Carson Palmer. I think that can benefit him and the Eagles the most and not be rushed into the offense, especially if the Eagles are paying Bradford. Wentz's smarts will help him adjust to the NFL faster than you would think, and his physical abilities will let him shine when he's ready to take over the Eagle offense. I see him playing in a Super Bowl in four to five years."
6) Why are Eagles fans going to love Carson Wentz?
"Eagle fans will love him because of his toughness and his willingness to do anything for the team to win. He never cared for throwing for 300 yards and for throwing four TD passes in a game, he only cared about winning. And that's all he's ever done in his career is win. He's helped all the teams he's been on get better and that's exactly what will happen with the Eagles. Philly fans will eat that up because that's the only thing that matters to this kid."
Thanks again to Dom. Make sure to follow him on Twitter: @DomIzzoWDAY.