When evaluating whether a college quarterback has what it takes to ultimately develop into a successful franchise-caliber player in the NFL, the list of boxes that have to be checked off on the player’s scouting report is quite a lengthy one.
Physical measurables such as size, arm strength, accuracy and athleticism are givens. So are mental intangibles such as Football IQ, pocket awareness, work ethic, locker-room leadership ability, a winning pedigree and overall toughness are all key facets of the overall evaluation.
It’s rare that a quarterback prospect receives a check mark in every box.
North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz is one of the special few who does.
Not only does the 6’5’’, 235-pound Wentz have the desired size, athleticism and arm talent that you look for in a top-tier quarterback prospect; he also possesses the critical mental intangibles to become a successful starter and face of the franchise-type of leader at the next level.
Scouts and personnel evaluators have loved what they’ve seen from the passer over the last two seasons, as he’s led the Bison to back-to-back FCS national championships. The only uncertainty that makes Wentz’s projection to the pros a bit trickier than the average top quarterback prospect is the level of competition he faced at the collegiate level.
North Dakota State is the most dominant and most talked-about FCS program in the country. That doesn’t change the fact that the Missouri Valley Conference is still the Missouri Valley Conference.
Shaking the stigma that comes along with being a “small-school quarterback” isn’t easy.
Luckily for Wentz, he’ll finally get the opportunity to show that he belongs in the same conversation as the other top senior prospects in the 2016 NFL draft when he takes part in the annual Senior Bowl down in Mobile, Alabama this week.
Though it serves as an important audition for every player in attendance, it feels like Wentz has a little something extra riding on his performance.
The only other senior quarterback with first-round aspirations: Michigan State’s Connor Cook, chose not to attend the festivities. That means that the spotlight will be shining squarely on Wentz as he looks to make a memorable impression on scouts.
Heading into the offseason, the strong-armed signal-caller generated plenty of buzz and momentum within the scouting community. It’s time for Wentz to turn that intrigue into excitement by producing a big showing at down in Mobile.