ESPN’s Mike Sando gathers a group of "league insiders" every offseason to create tiered rankings of all 32 NFL starting quarterbacks. This year’s panel consisted of 50 insiders, including general managers, head coaches, offensive coordinators, defensive coordinators, personnel directors, analytics directors, scouts, and other executives. These insiders assigned each quarterback a grade from 1 (best) to 5 (worst). The rankings are compiled into an average and the quarterbacks are divided into five different tiers.
Last year, Carson Wentz wasn’t featured in these rankings since Sam Bradford was still projected to be the starter. He was at No. 28. Bradford has since improved to No. 23 overall which is two spots behind ... you guessed it ... Carson Wentz. Here’s what was written about Wentz via ESPN In$ider.
Wentz is the lowest-ranked player considered by voters to have an especially bright future, which is why he has nearly as many Tier 2 votes (11) as all the lower-ranked players combined (14) -- despite a rough finish to the 2017 season. Multiple voters thought he could threaten Tier 1 down the line.
"Wentz, I think, is a 2 and has a chance being a 1 this year," a GM said. "What I saw last year, he is exactly what you are looking for. Toughness, movement, arm, quickness, decisiveness, accuracy. I think he is, of all the young quarterbacks in the league, the pick of the litter."
An assistant coach from the NFC East also placed Wentz in the second tier.
"I know he was up and down in the second half of the season, but I think he has a chance to be really good -- really good," a defensive coordinator who faced Wentz as a rookie said. "He can run the ball, he can get himself out of trouble, he is agile. I thought he was pretty smart and pretty poised. He did a couple things against us where he got them in and out of some plays that hurt us a little bit. I respect a guy like that, and that is as a rookie. I think it's all in front of him."
A personnel director said he thought Wentz, like [Jameis] Winston, would take off once surrounded with a strong supporting cast. A former GM said he'd take Wentz over Prescott if given the choice, even though Prescott had much better numbers.
"I think he is capable of carrying a team more consistently than Dak is because the pocket is for him," this former GM said. "The pocket isn't for all these guys, and I like Dak Prescott. You have to respect what he did."
I’d say this is pretty spot-on analysis. The expectation is that Wentz will take a step forward now that he’s been surrounded with more help in the form of Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, LeGarrette Blount, etc. Not to mention the progress he’s made by honing his craft during the offseason.
It’s interesting how a number of Draft Twitter analysts and various football writers/analysts are really down on Wentz. Because there’s a clear disconnect between how those people feel and how actual NFL people feel about the Eagles’ young starting quarterback. I have some more thoughts on this topic that I hope to expand upon even more in the near future.
Elsewhere in the NFC East, the New York Giants have the division's top rated quarterback: Eli Manning checks in at No. 11. He’s clearly still benefiting from previous accomplishments because hasn’t been so good recently. Kirk Cousins of the Washington Redskins is listed two spots lower at No. 13 while Dak Prescott finished at No. 14 overall. Note that while Dak is ranked higher than Wentz, one former general manager seems to be more optimistic about the latter.
Another former GM (maybe the same one?) said he’d take Wentz over both Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota who appear at No. 18 and No. 16 on this list, respectively.
It’s also fun to note that the guy who was drafted ahead of Wentz, Jared Goff, checks in at No. 32.
What do you think of how Wentz was ranked?
NFL insiders ranked Carson Wentz as the 21st best quarterback. Too high, too low, just right?
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