Before the season, California’s Jared Goff was considered the top quarterback in the college football. It almost seemed like a foregone conclusion that he would be a lock as the first quarterback taken in the 2016 NFL Draft. But my how things can change over the season. The emergence of Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch clouded up the picture a little bit, but there is a latecomer to the party that is getting a lot of love these days. North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz was someone that was even thought about at the beginning of the college football season. But with his 6’5”, 230 pound frame, many have fell in love with him since the season ended. And the quarterback who many did not even know existed has moved into position to be the first quarterback taken by many. But are people getting a little too carried away with Wentz to start with?
The comparisons are starting to come in about Wentz and they are definitely very interesting. Mike Mayock of the NFL Network compared Wentz to current Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck. He went as far as to say this about Wentz: “When I look at him, I see a kid that’s as athletic or more athletic than than Andrew Luck. He’s bigger than Andrew Luck. He’s got arm strength comparable to Andrew Luck. He just does not have the experience that Andrew Luck had at a high level coming out of college. So I see a ceiling for this kid similar to Andrew Luck. That is why I believe in this kid so much. But it’s going to take a little bit of time.” Reading those comments, you can tell that Mayock is definitely thinking Wentz should be the first quarterback taken. But one thing that struck me is the last quote he gave. He said it would take time for Wentz to develop. One thing that Luck did not have time to do in Indianapolis was develop. And his rookie year he led the Colts to the playoffs unexpectedly. Wentz may be compared to Luck, but let’s be realistic: he is nowhere near Luck. He played big games in college, but even looking the level he played at in college compared to Division One football is night and day. His adjustment to the next level will all depend on if he is able to make the mental adjustment and the speed adjustment to the game. The reactions on the next level will be faster than anything he has ever seen.
Andrew Luck was a very lofty comparison, but the comparisons of Wentz to top quarterbacks did not stop there. NFL media analyst Bucky Brooks has come out and compared Wentz to Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. Here is what he said about his comparison: “The comparison comes from watching Wentz play in the fall and watching him execute some of the same concepts and tactics that Cam does for the Panthers. He’s not the physical specimen that Cam is but he is a big-bodied, athletic quarterback who is very comfortable running and putting his body in harm’s way.” This sounds nice about Wentz, but he is no Cam Newton. He may have run the same style offense in college, but Cam is something totally different that Wentz will never be nor should be compared to. Wentz may end up being a solid quarterback, but running and throwing his body in harm’s way is something he might not want to do. Cam Newton can withstand it because he is a special player at the NFL level that is as big as defensive ends. Wentz is big, but not as big as Cam is.
At the end of the day, Wentz is who he is. He is a big, tough quarterback that can scramble if need to. And just like that, he has become the media darling of every scout imaginable. But in flowing with the analysis of both Brooks and Mayock, remember one thing: Mayock was the guy who would have picked Blaine Gabbert over Cam Newton. I say that to say that we all should not get swept up in the flavor of the month thinking that analysts would have you get caught up in. Let the scene play out and let Wentz give you his identity. Pump the brakes on the Andrew Luck/ Cam Newton comparisons. The kid may end up being really good, but relax folks. The comparison are going a little overboard already.