With the completion of the Eagles-Browns trade earlier this week where Philadelphia gave up a handful of draft picks to move up to the 2nd overall pick, the 2016 NFL Draft has officially been shaken up. As if the Rams moving up to #1 wasn’t enough.
This trade of course locks in the first 2 picks of the draft with the Rams and Eagles both slated to take quarterbacks. Most reports project Jared Goff to the Rams at the top of the draft, This would see Carson Wentz land in Philly.
In the trade the Eagles gave up a total of 5 picks which includes 3 picks in this year’s draft, along with an extra 1st round next year. A hefty price to move up from 8th overall, but apparently no price is too much when it comes to acquiring a franchise QB – as the Rams proved as well.
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) April 20, 2016
Many were quick to knock a trade of this magnitude from the Eagles perspective as they seemingly mortgage a good part of their future for a QB. Not only that, but they do with a capable starting QB in Sam Bradford already on the roster who they re-signed earlier in the offseason. Not only that, Doug Pederson signed his backup QB from Kansas City, Chase Daniel – and at a hefty price for a backup. With the addition of Wentz, the Eagles will have a lot invested into a position which fields only one player; but does that benefit Wentz? Read below and see how it does.
Check out our full scouting report on Carson Wentz.
1. Sit on Bench and Develop
With Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel already on the roster, Carson Wentz won’t be thrown into the fire right off the bat – something that is criminally overlooked when rookie QBs are drafted early. Most of the time, rookie QBs are immediately set to be the starting QB which impedes their progression. Teams don’t recognize the fact that most QBs come out of college as raw products and require more coaching and time on the bench to learn and get accustomed to the NFL game; unless of course, they’re on the level of an Andrew Luck or more recently Jameis Winston – which Wentz is not, at least not yet.
When Wentz is drafted by Philadelphia, he’ll have the luxury of sitting back and learning from both Bradford and Chase Daniel who has been raved about when it comes to his ability to teach – this will benefit Wentz greatly. Wentz is a smart QB with tons of upside – but he is simply not ready to start from day one.
2. Coaching Staff
A big reason why Philadelphia completed the trade to move up to #2 was the influence of the coaching staff. The former Eagles QB and QB coach, Doug Pederson comes over from Kansas City after serving as the offensive coordinator under Andy Reid since 2013. During his stint with the Chiefs, he helped resurrect the career of Alex Smith who has seen tons of success with that franchise. Being a former QB, Pederson knows what it takes to be successful in the league, and I’ll trust his evaluation skills when it comes to the position along with his ability to develop a young QB.
Not only is there Pederson, but Frank Reich comes over after serving as the offensive coordinator for San Diego for the past 2 years. Reich, like Pederson, is also another former NFL QB.
The fact that Wentz will have the luxury of two former NFL QBs teaching him and bringing him along will do a lot for his progression. Not every rookie QB comes into a situation like this.
3. Offensive Scheme
While Wentz isn’t the best fit in Pederson’s primary west-coast offensive scheme, it’s a QB friendly system where Wentz should adapt quite hastily. The system focuses more-so on efficient passes to stretch the field and open up the chance for big plays. Wentz has displayed the necessary arm strength to make NFL caliber throws, and he was efficient during his career at North Dakota State.
Pederson and the system won’t demand too much of him from the get-go, but he should be able to ease into his role which will lead to a quick progression – in theory.
4. Wentz’s Upside as Franchise QB
Out of Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, I believe Wentz offers more upside in a “franchise QB” role. He has drawn comparisons to guys like Ben Roethlisberger and Blake Bortles who both fit the bill, but Wentz has the ceiling of a Cam Newton. Wentz’s size and athleticism is what sets him apart from Goff. It’s rare for a guy standing at 6’5” to be able to move the way Wentz does.
Not only does he offer tremendous running ability, but his arm is just as good, although he still has some work to do. He was asked to make a lot of NFL throws in college which translates well to the NFL. He’s a tough guy who stands tall in the pocket and leads by example. His work ethic and intelligence draw no question marks. Wentz has the mental and physical makeup to be one of the best QBs in the NFL – he just needs time. That is something the Eagles have been without since Donovan McNabb.
5. 1999 NFL Draft
This may just be mining for an extra reason to be optimistic about this trade, but it certainly is interesting. As stated above, the Eagles haven’t had a franchise QB since McNabb departed the “City of Brotherly Love”. Assuming Wentz does land in Philly, he will immediately be connected to the best QB in franchise history (McNabb).
In the 1999 NFL Draft, the Eagles held the 2nd overall pick, like they now do in the 2016 NFL Draft. With that pick the Eagles selected none other than Donovan McNabb. Looking back, you’d think that would be a sound pick by the franchise and something that would be applauded by the fans – that was not the case. Eagles fans filled Madison Square Garden with boos as they wanted Ricky Williams instead – the Eagles made the right move.
While the fans would be booing for a different reason this time around, Wentz would join McNabb as the first 2nd overall pick since 1999 – both of whom are involved in controversial selections. Sending a bunch of draft picks to Cleveland wasn’t accepted by most of the fan-base. However, looking into the future a few years, you just have to hope Wentz develops into a franchise QB – like McNabb did. While it looks like a bad trade now, it very well could be worth it as we look back 5 years from now.
6. Motivating Sam Bradford
As if a $20M deal over two years isn’t enough motivation, Bradford is reportedly “more motivated” after the Eagles decided to trade up for a QB. This could result in one of two things. Either Bradford finally stays healthy and has a career year – perhaps solidifying his role as the QB for the next season. Or, he’ll continue to have questionable durability and complete another solid season in Philly.
In his first year with the Eagles, he missed ‘only’ two games and saw career-highs in completion percentage and passing yards, although he averaged 1 interception per game. Perhaps we’ll see a breakout in his 2nd season with the Eagles – assuming he stays healthy. A trade of this magnitude and the presence of Wentz very well could show Bradford that his job security is low – thus forcing him to play better than he ever has before. Worst case, Bradford has a lackluster season and Wentz takes over towards the end of the year or in 2017.