by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
According to Adam Caplan (via Twitter):
“#Eagles are planning on starting Carson Wentz against the visiting #Browns if he’s recovered enough from his rib injury, sources said.”
This news comes in the wake of the trade that sent Sam Bradford to Minnesota (in exchange for a first round pick and a fourth round pick). It’s a bit of a surprise that they are going to push the rookie so quickly, with Chase Daniel still on the roster and Wentz getting limited opportunities in the preseason (he hasn’t played since the first game), but not a significant one. Philadelphia traded up to get Wentz, and in this era when you pay that price for an early round QB you expect to get immediate results.
The question is, what exactly can Wentz bring to the table? Here’s how NFL.com described him prior to the draft:
“With a body type that is as prototypical as they come and a background in reading the entire field and working through progressions, Wentz will immediately check a couple of boxes that many college quarterbacks won’t be able to check. While his arm strength is OK, he can still make all the throws and he can make them with accuracy. His ability to escape pressure and pick up first downs with his feet will be yet another check mark in his favor. Wentz is still in a developmental phase after just two years at an FCS program, but has the mental and physical building blocks of a future, franchise quarterback.”
That certainly makes him seem like he’s going to need a year or two to develop, though there is upside and potential. Considering he averaged just 3.7 yards per attempt in his lone preseason appearance, the arm strength question is definitely a fair one.
That’s not going to eliminate the upside of the trio of skill players, however, as Darren Sproles, Zach Ertz and Jordan Matthews are all players who can thrive in the short passing game. Just look at the numbers the trio posted on passes thrown 10 yards or less in ’15:
- Ertz – 49 receptions, 404 yards, 0 TD
- Matthews – 60 receptions, 465 yards, 2 TD
- Sproles – 51 receptions, 344 yards, 1 TD
In other words, their upside and value remains the same. As for Wentz, consider him a low-end QB2 with upside. Long-term he could get there, but there are definite questions facing him in ’16.
Sources – NFL.com, ESPN
Make sure to check out all of our updated preseason rankings: