CLEVELAND – With the 2016 NFL Draft a little over a month and a half away, it appears that the Cleveland Browns may have found their guy in North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz.
Thanks to an impressive Senior Bowl practice week and showing at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, the 6’5 235-pound Wentz has proverbially leapfrogged former Cal quarterback Jared Goff as the draft’s top-ranked quarterback prospect.
Again, there can be made some argument between Goff and Wentz as 1A and 1B, but for the first time in a long time, the Cleveland Browns are in prime position to pull the trigger on a player who may solve their 20-year plus search for a franchise QB.
There are some who question the level of competition that Wentz faced at North Dakota State—and rightfully so—but at the same time, one must also look at Goff’s production vs. quality opponents during his time at Cal. Personally, it is all about splitting hairs, rather than apples vs. oranges.
If that’s the case, I’d take Wentz over Goff hands down.
Thanks to a bigger frame, experience playing under center in a pro-style offense, playing in cold weather and being more athletically mobile, I feel that Wentz is a better fit than the more nimble Goff in facing the hard-hitting and physical defenses of Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Cincinnati two times a year. Combine that with a rocket arm and a knack for putting the ball in the right spot and Wentz just oozes AFC North quarterback.
One more factor that one has to take into consideration; new head coach Hue Jackson.
During his time in Baltimore as quarterbacks coach in 2008-09, Jackson worked with future Super Bowl MVP in Joe Flacco, who also came from a FCS school (Delaware). Jackson’s experience on the offensive side of the ball and working with small-school quarterbacks such as Wentz, makes a Jackson-Wentz QB-coach marriage all the more logical.
That on top of the recent comparisons of Wentz to the aforementioned Flacco, may finally give them their own big-bodied, rocket-armed quarterback of their own, instead of a certain vertically-challenged Texas-born train wreck down to his last days as a Browns quarterback in Johnny Manziel.
In sports as in the dating world, size DOES matter. And in the case of Wentz, I see a younger Ben Roethlisberger. And last time I checked he played less than stellar competition down in Oxford at Miami of Ohio, and how many Super Bowl rings does he own?
To hold what school Wentz comes from is straight-up asinine and would be a page right out of the boneheaded and ignorant playbook of the Cleveland Browns if they passed on him because he went to school up in Fargo.
Tony Romo (Eastern Illinois), Kurt Warner (Northern Iowa), Colin Kaepernick (Nevada), Phil Simms (Morehead State), the late Steve McNair (Alcorn State), the forementioned Flacco and fellow Delaware Blue Hen—and NFL MVP Rich Gannon went to small schools and achieved great NFL success, perhaps Cleveland would be wise—thanks to their new analytics-heavy front office to break the mold in pulling the trigger on Wentz.
Hell, Hall of Famer Sid Luckman of the New York Giants went to Columbia.
If the Browns are smart for once—which I can’t believe I actually just typed—and take a quarterback that they feel can be their guy for the next decade, then based on all the above attributes, Wentz is their pick at No.2
No ifs, ands or buts about it.
Hopefully, for once Cleveland doesn’t make things too hard on themselves in trying to be cute for once.