One of the best little-known stories over the past few years in college football has been the North Dakota State Bison. Unfortunately, because they play FCS football, North Dakota State doesn’t get a lot of attention, but they should as they have consistently been one of top teams in their respective division. A large reason because of that has been the play of quarterback Carson Wentz.
At 6-foot-6, 230 pounds, the North Dakota kid decided to stay in-state to play for the Bison. A senior, Wentz has one more game left in his illustrious college career before being added to an NFL roster in just a few months time. However, a season-ending wrist injury will keep him out of North Dakota State’s final game of the 2015 season.
I think the first thing that is clear with Wentz is his arm strength. At 6-foot-6, 230 pounds, with a rocket for an arm, Wentz screams ‘prototypical’ for an NFL quarterback. For just his arm strength and frame alone, Wentz has drawn comparisons to Joe Flacco. On top of Wentz’s arm strength, he has excellent pocket presence skills.
Starting out with his tape, I like how Wentz’s athleticism is extremely underrated. On this play, Wentz gets outside and scores with his feet.
The first throw I put up here was Wentz moving outside the pocket. On this throw, Wentz makes an easy pass, but his mechanics on the ground that impress me. Given his size and his frame, sometimes it’s hard for a player like Wentz to make this throw on the run.
Here’s a throw of Wentz showing off his arm strength, putting the football into a tight window for a score.
The next throw is an example of the touch Wentz puts on his football. His footwork and mechanics aren’t the best here, but Wentz takes the hit and puts the football on the money.
The next throw is easily the nicest one I’ve seen from Wentz. Despite it being a 45-yard ball, Wentz throws the football with ease, driving off his back foot to reach the end zone with ease.
The next throw is an example of Wentz being comfortable in the pocket. In this GIF, Wentz stands tall in the pocket, goes through his reads and takes what the defense gives him.
I walk away from three tapes of Wentz really unimpressed. He locks into his targets often and he doesn’t necessarily throw the football where his receivers can create space. The wrist surgery should affect his throwing motion going forward. All in all, despite being 6-foot-6, Wentz plays smaller for a quarterback, this just going to show his pocket mechanics.
Especially since he’s coming from the FCS, Wentz’s transition to the NFL will come at a price. I didn’t see a lot of intelligence in terms of reading the defense. I think for Wentz to succeed, he will need to come into the right system and be mentored by the right quarterback.
I think Wentz would benefit greatly by showcasing his talent at some sort of All-Star event, however, the overall improvement of competition could actually hurt him. Wentz has the tools coaches will love, but he didn’t make many NFL-level throws in his tape. Another impression I took away from Wentz is that he relied heavily on the system he was in, throwing a lot of check-downs and short-to-intermediate passes.
How does Wentz fit in Dallas? Because quarterback is a position of need for the Cowboys, I’m looking at many quarterbacks that could be wearing a star on their helmet in 2016. However, if the Dallas Cowboys are in the market for a quarterback, I doubt their choice would be Wentz. He just doesn’t fit the bill and while the tools are there for Wentz to develop, he may need a lot of NFL seasoning to reach his full potential, and I don’t believe that happens in Dallas. Out of the four quarterbacks I’ve looked at (Paxton Lynch, Jared Goff, Connor Cook, Wentz), Wentz is the guy I like the least.
Games watched: Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota
Next up on the docket: Cardale Jones