Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz wasn't selected in the first round of a fantasy building-block draft for NFL teams. The uproar over that seems off.
By Jack Kerwin | firstname.lastname@example.org
Two. Friggin’. Days.
That, so far, covers the amount of time the self-proclaimed “enlightened” Philly sports media and fans have bitched and moaned about a silly, make-believe draft held by the braintrust at Pro Football Focus aimed at opining on the best franchise-building chips out there.
Why? Because it didn’t include Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz among the first round picks.
Yep, 32 selections in, and no mention of the guy Howie Roseman and Co. have determined as the savior for those who bleed midnight green.
Oh, the humanity.
Can you believe it?
Not for nothing, but the Wentz love around these parts defies any logic. Sure, the kid’s a good athlete. He brings attitude, intelligence, moxie and wide-ranging skill set to the table. He also has an amazing gift of making his intangibles tangible, to the point where you do not doubt his leadership abilities or his desire to face obstacles head on.
He has flaws, though. Major ones.
For all the rationalizing about his first season being hindered by the talent – or lack thereof – around him, the reality of the matter is Wentz is far from a finished, or even remotely, polished product, at least in most phases. Put it this way, he may have the commanding, cocksure presence down. But he has a long way to go as a passer and, at times, decision-maker.
The latter of those two can be taken care of through time, repetition and knowledge gained.
The former? That’s a concern.
Yeah, he lacked a great receiving corps last season. Label it lousy if you like, or if you must to keep the fantasy on track. Truth is, it really doesn’t matter what his aerial hookup mates’ talent level was. Wentz, once throws got beyond 10 yards, struggled to get the ball to them … on target, on time.
He’s often high, and wide, with passes, and, take a deep breath on this one, he cannot throw the long ball. Just doesn’t have the arm. Sorry, he doesn’t.
Not sure he ever will.
He had a decent rookie campaign. Threw for 3,700 yards and 16 TDs. Completed 62 percent of his passes. But he didn’t make anyone forget the dink-and-dunk days of Sam Bradford. He also got picked off 14 times and finished 2016 with a passer rating that ranked 25th among NFL quarterbacks.
That hardly warrants consideration as one of the game’s top building blocks, never mind a hint of indignation by anyone within the city limits or beyond crushing on No. 11 who just cannot believe he wasn’t taken in the first round of PFF’s draft.
Sure, those making the picks opting for 30-somethings Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Matt Ryan seem to have missed “to start a franchise” parameter. But everyone else chosen, save for, ironically enough, Wentz’s teammate, Brandon Graham, certainly merited the “honor” above Wentz.
Including Dak Prescott and Kirk Cousins?
You betcha. Drop the prejudice and see things as they are. Yeah, Prescott was drafted in the fourth round while Wentz was the No. 2 pick overall in the 2016 draft. So what? Prescott also had a passer rating 25 points better than Wentz during their opening NFL salvo. Was more accurate, and far more efficient and productive.
Cousins has been a top-5 quarterback two years running now. He’s 28. Wentz is 24. If the latter gets a sniff of that level of play within four years, get back to me.
The college kids? They all, including University of Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver, are better prospects than Wentz ever was – you know, prior to his Ponzi scheme-type rise up draft boards for a couple months before the Eagles took him.
They all play FBS-level ball, too. Wentz never did.
So, he wasn’t taken high in this draft. Yo, he didn’t deserve to be.
Deal with it, and be done with it.
TIME TO STEP IT UP
To me, at least, it is.
For a place that prides itself on being this bastion of sports knowledge and insight, Philly, my hometown, too often has blinders when it comes to anything outside of city limits or the professional franchises that reside within them.
Frankly, it’s embarrassing to listen to radio shows at times, with the most vocal and recognizable of “our” sports media who hold court and serve as the – cough, cough – educators to the masses coming across as clueless.
Yeah, sure, maybe it means nothing to most fans that those supposedly in the know, that those who are in charge of the information getting out there, that those who are steering interest in a certain direction, base opinions and analysis on assumptions, old-school beliefs and living-in-a-fishbowl limitations.
But it means a lot to me. Really, Carson Wentz not being selected in the first round of a fantasy foundational player draft is blasphemous? Because quarterbacks for the Redskins and Cowboys were taken instead? Because four college players were taken instead?
Yo, reality check: all – that’s ALL – currently are better players or have higher ceilings than the Eagles’ second-year quarterback.
Also, could we stop bragging about the sports brilliance of the region’s media and fan base long enough for both to step outside their comfort zone, maybe take in a college game on TV, or learn how to read in order to grasp that Ed Oliver from the University of Houston is NOT a quarterback, but that he was a first-team All-American as a freshman last season and honored as the nation’s top defensive lineman? Umm, yeah, that would be greeeeaaat.