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April 29, 2016

What they’re saying about the Eagles selection of Carson Wentz, draft grade edition

Eagles NFL

So, the Eagles made it official and took their quarterback on Thursday. Carson Wentz is moving from the Missouri Valley Conference to the NFC East, and with all that Howie Roseman gave up to make that happen, it’s a polarizing move.

Here is what they’re saying about the Wentz pick, from near and far:

Local takes

Eagles brass vows to give Carson Wentz time to learn and grow: Paul Domowitch, Philadelphia Daily News

If the Eagles don't trade Bradford - and executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman reiterated Thursday night he isn't interesting in doing that - Bradford could be in for a rough go from fans this season. The "We want Wentz" chants could start as early as Week 1 if Bradford struggles against Cleveland. But Pederson won't rush Wentz.

"I'll tell you this," Pederson said. "This is a better football team than we had in 1999. There's much better talent on this football team. So I'm not going to speculate on if and whens down the road."

Wentz will have to be better than good to make Eagles look smart: David Murphy, Philadelphia Daily News

Even if the first-, second- and third-round picks that the Eagles will sacrifice over the next three drafts end up hampering their ability to build a playoff-caliber team around Carson Wentz, it will prove to be a quickly forgotten pothole if the immensely impressive North Dakota State product fulfills the potential that his physical tools have bestowed upon him.

Carson Wentz will need to be better than Joe Flacco. He will need to be better than Steve McNair. He will need to be better than Phil Simms and Ken O'Brien and Doug Williams and Dan Pastorini. For any of this to have a chance of working, Wentz will need to be the best first-round draft pick to ever come from a non-Division I-FBS school.

Wentz To Deal With Bradford ‘Professionally’: Tim McManus, Birds 24/7

How will he handle his first time meeting with Bradford?

“Professionally,” he replied. “We’re both professionals now, and it will be what it is. I won’t make it bigger than it needs to be. I’m just going to go in there and focus on what I can control, and learning as much ball as I can as quickly as I can.”

Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson Explain Why They Really Love Carson Wentz: Adam Hermann, Bleeding Green Nation

Wentz, 23, is immediately the face of the Eagles’ future, the man they swapped plenty of assets to woo from Bismarck to Philadelphia with the hopes of a Lombardi trophy and stability at the quarterback position for the first time since the Donovan McNabb era.

"His presence when he walks in the room, when he talks to you not only about football but about life, and then when you watch him interact with people," Roseman said Thursday. "That’s just the kind of kid he is, and we’re just excited for all our fans and our team to see why we brought him here."

Carson Wentz a smart, calculated gamble by Howie Roseman: John Gonzalez, CSN Philly

As expected, the Eagles took quarterback Carson Wentz with the second overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft. It was the final component of a strategy Roseman started implementing after he was brought back from exile to reclaim authority over the front office. Wentz represents hope for the Eagles and their fans — but more than that, he’s an avatar for Roseman’s will. For as long as he’s around, you will look at Wentz and you will remember why he’s here and who made it happen.

National Draft Grades

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports, B-: I love the move up to get the passer, but I don't like Wentz as much as others.

Chad Reuter, NFL.com, C: The Eagles are gambling big (gave up CB Byron Maxwell, LB Kiko Alonso, 2017 first-round pick, two top-100 picks this year, 2018 second-rounder) on the ability of Carson Wentz to become a legitimate top-tier starter. We'll see.

Eric Edholm, Yahoo, B: The impressive Wentz won two titles as a starter at the FCS level and has everything you want in a quarterback physically. He also is a mature, grounded person, and that will serve him well in a tough town. There's a crowd at QB with the Eagles, but if he's the best man for the job it will all sort out in time. It's a long road from Fargo to Philly, but if there's ever a town that can embrace the underdog …

Mike Tanier, Bleacher Report, C+: Like the Rams, the Eagles incurred so much risk that the reward must be nearly stratospheric. Wentz is a very good prospect. But for this selection to work out, he has to be much, much more.

Dan Kadar, SB Nation, B: There is a real risk with Wentz. Obviously taking him second overall, you assume the best. You assume he's going to be the franchise quarterback who leads the Eagles to the playoffs consistently. You assume his impressive tools will translate to the NFL. But you also have to assume he can transition from the FCS level where he had limited starting experience. Similar to the Rams' grade, this one gets knocked a touch because of the amount of picks the Eagles had to give up to move up six spots in the draft. Still, if you're giving up that many picks, you do it for a quarterback you think can be a star.

Steve Palazzolo, Pro Football Focus, A-: Wentz graded as well as any quarterback in the class, though he did it at the FCS level with a strong supporting cast. He throws a beautiful deep out and comeback route, showing off his great velocity. With his big arm, he can develop in a vertical passing system that features his ability to make big throws in the 15-25 yard range, picking up big chunks at a time. There are a few concerns to his game – timing in the passing game, not going through progressions and deep accuracy – but the overall tools were too much to pass up for the Eagles. Wentz is going to a good situation with a coaching staff that has developed many different styles of quarterback, so if any staff can get the most out of his ability, it’s this group in Philadelphia.

Doug Farrar, Sports Illustrated, A: Don’t debit Wentz because he played in the Missouri Valley Football Conference—he’s more NFL-ready than you may think. He has great mobility, the size to run QB power like Cam Newton and a full read palette that belies his small-school history. The Eagles got the second quarterback in this draft class, but in the end, they may well have selected the better one overall. Think Ben Roethlisberger as a long-term comparison.

Steven Ruiz, USA Today, C: Wentz will take at least a year or two to develop into a starter — he tends to get antsy in the pocket and takes too long to work through his reads — but that seems to be the plan in Philadelphia with Sam Bradford signed to a two-year deal. Trading up for a quarterback who is not seen as a special prospect was an odd move; even if Wentz develops into a good starter, it will be hard for the Eagles to build around him after giving up multiple picks to get him.


Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann

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