Prior to the NFL Draft each year, Bob McGinn of The Journal Sentinel puts together a series of posts ranking draft prospects based on what he hears from anonymous scouts. It's an interesting look at what actual talent evaluators think about the players. Now that the draft is over, let's take a revisit what was said about the players the Philadelphia Eagles drafted. We'll start with none other than the No. 2 overall pick: quarterback Carson Wentz.
2) "Prototypical," one scout said. "I see everything. Arm strength. Accuracy. Toughness. Athletic ability. Smart. Great kid." "He's a genius, Wentz is," said another scout with knowledge of Wentz's 40 on the Wonderlic. "He could be really good. He's the best runner, he's the best athlete. He is off the charts." Fifth-year senior from Bismarck, N.D., who didn't start a game until his fourth year. Finished with passer rating of 105.3. "He gets away with things in that league (Missouri Valley) that he wouldn't get away with in the SEC," a third scout said. "He tries to throw in tight windows. Even in the (FCS) title game he threw two picks. The guy he reminds me of is (Blake) Bortles. Everybody was so excited about Bortles because of the height and the athletic ability, and this guy has the same thing. At least Bortles played against big-time competition. At this point I just don't see where he's that accurate of a passer." Compared by that same scout to Ben Roethlisberger. "He's big, athletic and has a freaking cannon," a fourth scout said. "Level of competition is the only thing. I'd sit him for a year and a half, two years. Then I got a real starter. He'll be shoved into the fire too quickly and it may crush him."
There's nothing too new here that we haven't heard about Wentz before. He's athletic and smart. There are concerns about his level of competition. He'd be best off by not being forced into action right away as a rookie, which is why the Eagles have Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel ahead of him for now. Still, it's fun to see Wentz heralded as a "genius."
Wentz is the only player drafted by the Eagles to appears in McGinn's rankings. Fifth round pick Wendell Smallwood got an honorable mention, however, as the "unsung hero" of all running backs in this class.
Third-year junior. Fast (4.41), undersized third-down back with tremendous hands and the fortitude to run inside. Weak in pass protection. Charged with witness intimidation in a 2014 murder case but charges were dropped. "They (school officials) said it looks 4,000 times worse than it ended up being," one scout said. "They love him there."
The sentiment that Smallwood was well-liked at West Virginia has popped up multiple times since he's been drafted. Former WVU reporter and current Eagles beat writer Ed Kracz has said no one he talked to had anything bad to say about Smallwood. WVU writer Jake Lantz was "shocked" when news of his 2014 arrest first emerged. One BGN reader who claims to have gone to high school with Smallwood wrote that he's a "pretty down-to-earth nice kid."
Unfortunately, no other Eagles picks or undrafted free agents were mentioned in McGinn's series.