To the links!
But ever since the Philadelphia Eagles traded up to select Wentz, of FCS North Dakota State, with the number two pick of last April’s draft, the question has remained: Could another top prospect be hiding at a small school? This was only amplified after Wentz’s solid Week 1 performance.
Perhaps that’s why so many NFL teams are considering Montana’s Gustafson, a fifth-year senior. One NFL scout called him the best quarterback in the West. Another scout had major hesitations, citing Gustafson’s uneven footwork and inconsistency. If you’re wondering how NFL teams unearth a player like this, consider: One scout discovered Gustafson during the last draft cycle—while evaluating Wentz. The scout wanted to watch the one game North Dakota State lost last season. In doing so, he was captivated by the opposing quarterback: Gustafson.
So just what was the opportunity cost for the Eagles in moving to draft Wentz last spring? The trade executed in April that vaulted the Eagles to No. 2, up from No. 8, in the first round, required the organization to part with third- and fourth-rounders for the 2016 draft, plus a first-round pick in 2017 and a second-rounder in 2018. The Eagles also received a 2017 fourth-round pick back from the Browns in the deal.
It’s a worthwhile cost-benefit study for the Bears to home in on. If and when the organization chooses to separate from Jay Cutler – the veteran quarterback will be on a pay-as-you-go plan with his current contract after this season – general manager Ryan Pace will at least understand what resources are now required to secure a top-3 pick in the draft.
Holding the ball too long will lead to sack fumbles, and staring at your receiver will result in interceptions against zone defenses. In Sunday’s game, Wentz seldom read through his progression to find a secondary receiver. And he was unwilling to abort well-defended plays and check it down to a running back or throw the ball away. But, that is to be expected from a young quarterback. Some quarterbacks never develop the ability to read through their progression. But that isn’t necessarily a problem. It’s OK for the quarterback to know where he is going to throw the ball before the play starts, as long as he doesn’t tell the defense by staring at the receiver for the entire play. Wentz needs to master the art of the look-off.
Wentz made at least five “wow” throws, and not only did he not turn the ball over once, he didn’t even come close. Hell, his first completion as a pro was a back-shoulder throw to Ertz, who made an outstanding one-handed catch while contorting his body in the air. This is just one of the many ways Wentz will differentiate himself from a milquetoast chump like Sam Bradford — he’s not afraid to take advantage of one-on-one matchups and trust his receivers to make a play. Then to cap off your first drive with a perfect bucket throw to the back of the end zone? Come on, that’s fairy tale stuff.