Carson Wentz: Fact Or Fiction

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Where were you when you first heard the name Carson Wentz?

For me, it was some time late fall 2013 during the closing minutes of another comfortable win by my North Dakota State Bison. I honestly don’t remember exactly when. Wentz was a nobody. He was just some sophomore backup behind star QB Brock Jensen, and he was in for mop-up duty.

I wish I could say I saw something special or something different in those rare snaps. I didn’t. I barely saw anything at all beyond the 52–14 score as the clock wound down on yet another playoff win en route to the program’s third consecutive championship.

Like Wentz, I’m a North Dakotan, born and bred. Rooting for the Green and Gold is in my blood.

Bills defensive end — and second round draft pick — Phil Hansen was a local hero. Denver Broncos safety Tyrone Braxton was another favorite. St. Louis Rams running back Lamar Gordon was my guy. I dreamed of a day we’d move to Division I-AA (now FCS) and maybe win a title or two. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that a member of the Bison would go in the first round of the NFL Draft — certainly not No. 2 overall.

Dreams, meet reality.

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Wentz became the highest-drafted non-FBS quarterback since Terry Bradshaw went No. 1 overall to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1970.

So naturally, everyone wants to know: Did the Eagles give up too much?! It will be some time before we know the answer to that question, but that hasn’t stopped the #HotTake cannons from firing fast and furious. Only, how is it that everyone has an opinion on a guy they’ve never seen play?

For the sake of accuracy, let’s separate Fact from Fiction, shall we?

If Wentz is so good, he should’ve been starting before his junior year

Just because last year’s top QBs Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota started as freshmen doesn’t mean that’s the only path to success. Cam Newton transferred twice before leading Auburn to a title. Aaron Rodgers began his career at Butte College before transferring to Cal, then sat for three years in the NFL before getting his chance there, too.

Every situation is different.

Wentz redshirted at North Dakota State, just like 90 percent of the team. He then joined an NDSU roster that had just won its first ever FCS championship. Junior QB Brock Jensen led the team to two more titles before graduating.

Wentz then took the job and won a championship of his own. This season he broke his wrist, and backup Easton Stick reeled off 8 straight wins. With only the title game left, despite two months of rust and rehab, Wentz won the job back amidst a local media craze and led the Bison to a fifth straight title.

He earned his job and took every snap he should have.

Verdict: FICTION

Wentz doesn’t LOOK like an NFL quarterback


No, a player’s looks do not determine his quality of play. And no, his hair color does not have the slightest bit of bearing.

Jeff Garcia had red hair and played in a handful of Pro Bowls. Redhead Brad Johnson won a Super Bowl, and Carson Palmer played at an MVP level just last season. Also maybe you’ve heard of Sonny Jurgensen or Sammy Baugh? Both of those QBs are in the Hall of Fame, and Baugh basically invented the forward pass as we know it. Red hair, both.

Technically, redheads make up 7.7 percent of QBs enshrined in Canton, but just 1–2 percent of the entire human population.

Research from This is Your Brain on Sports shows that good looks correlate even less with quarterbacks than with wide receivers or cornerbacks. What matters more is that a player looks like a leader — that’s a greater determination of success. Carson Wentz is smart and congenial, learns quickly, and looks and sounds like a leader. The draft process is one long interview, and Wentz crushed it.



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