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November 17, 2016

Carson Wentz the favorite young quarterback among NFL execs

Eagles NFL
111716_Carson-Wentz_AP Matt Slocum/AP

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz is a finalist for NFL Rookie of the Year.

Prior to this year's NFL Draft, no executive in football was higher on Carson Wentz than the Eagles' Howie Roseman. He could have stayed were he was, but instead opted to deal multiple draft picks in order to move up to second overall and draft the quarterback out of North Dakota State.

So far, it seems that was the right decision. Wentz and the Eagles are 5-4 in a season many expected to be  a rebuilding year. And while much of their success can be attributed to stellar defensive play, Wentz has more than done his part as a rookie who played at a small school and missed a good chunk of training camp with an injury.

Now, other executives around the league are confirming what Roseman knew all along: Wentz is a special player.

Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks on Twitter) spoke to five different NFL execs about which young quarterback they think is best. But there's a catch: it's not about which player has the best numbers or is currently playing at the highest level. Here's how Jeremiah worded the question:

So, if you could build a franchise around one of the quarterbacks from the last two draft classes, which one would you choose? 

The last two drafts have produced some quarterbacks with tremendous upside. In addition to Wentz, the 2016 class included No. 1 pick Jared Goff and Cowboys QB Dak Prescott. In 2015, there was Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, both of whom are playing at high levels and, like Goff and Wentz, went one-two in the draft.

There wasn't a unanimous choice among the execs with whom Jeremiah spoke, but there was one name that all five mentioned: Wentz.

Three of the five picked the Eagles rookie flat out. And the other two, both of whom picked Mariota, said that Wentz was a close second. The main reason they gave Mariota the nod was his athleticism and speed as a runner. The only other guy to even get a mention was Prescott.

Here's a sampling of what they had to say about Wentz:

•   I love Wentz. He has everything you want: Size, arm strength, accuracy, poise and leadership.

•   [Wentz] doesn't have much around him right now, but he's helping Philly win games. They don't have any legit receivers and they have some holes on the offensive line. He would be destroying the league if he had Prescott's supporting cast. Long term, I think both of those guys are going to be very successful.

•   Both [Wentz and Mariota] have ideal makeup, intelligence and the 'it' factor. However, Wentz is just a bigger guy with more durability over the long term. I do love both guys a lot ... smart, tough and great leaders.

So what conclusion did Jeremiah draw from this?

Statistically, Wentz hasn't been the most impressive of this group, but he gets a lot of support from these executives. He has all of the tools to be very successful and I believe he will eventually emerge as the best player in this group. However, Prescott has blown me away with his poise and playmaking ability. He's by far the biggest surprise in the NFL this season. Mariota and Winston are both making positive strides and playing at a high level right now. One name we didn't see pop up -- Jared Goff. We'll get a chance to see him take the field for the first time this weekend. I can't wait to see how he stacks up with this impressive group of young signal-callers. [NFL.com]

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Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin