Weekend Reading: Is Wentz Philly’s Next Big Thing?

Plus, a potential draft-day trade involving Sam Bradford.

Carson Wentz. (USA Today Sports)

Carson Wentz. (USA Today Sports)

Two days ago, the Eagles made a blockbuster trade with the Browns for the second overall pick in the 2016 draft. Now that the dust has settled, let’s see what the national and local media are saying about the move.

Zach Berman thinks Carson Wentz could be the next big thing in Philadelphia.

Wentz will be in Chicago for the draft. And unless the Rams pass on [JaredGoff, Wentz will walk across the stage 20 minutes into the event, shake Roger Goodell’s hand, and don an Eagles cap. In Bismarck and Fargo and throughout his home state, there will be applause like the one inside the Italian restaurant on March 30th.

“He kind of epitomizes the working class here in North Dakota,” Wingenbach said. “He’s a very humble, hard-working young man. I would hope the rest of the United States kind of sees North Dakota as that type of state. And so consequently, you see the whole state rally behind him.”

It’s already happened in North Dakota. Philadelphia could be next.

The Eagles rank eighth in the NFL when it comes to drafting in the last 20 years, according to the Washington Post.

The Philadelphia Eagles have been more successful in the draft than the NFL average since 1996. Their best pick was Donovan McNabb in 1999 and their biggest bust was Jerome McDougle in 2003.

Surprised? Deflated? Demanding to know where these numbers come from?

This piece uses a metric called draft value, created by the math gurus at ProFootballReference.com. It weighs factors such as games started, individual stats, team performance and all-pro honors.

It’s a way to compare players at different positions and to show their value to the teams that chose them.

Tommy Lawlor took some time to watch Wentz’s tape. Here are his findings.

Wentz isn’t afraid to put the ball into tight spots. He will give his receivers a chance to make plays for him. I wish he would do this more often, but he will do it at times.

QB runs were a regular part of the NDSU offense. He ran for 936 yards and 12 TDs over the past 2 seasons. Some QBs don’t want to take advantage of their mobility. Wentz likes to run and he’s very good at it.

There is no question that Wentz looks like an NFL QB. I normally don’t like QBs to be as big as Wentz, but that’s because guys that size usually aren’t as athletic as him. Wentz had a better 3-cone time than Cam Newton. Heck, he had a better 3-cone time than former Eagle CB Sheldon Brown, despite being 41 pounds heavier. Wentz is a big, strong man, but he is also a terrific athlete.

We have no idea if Wentz will pan out in the NFL. If he does, it certainly won’t be due to a lack of size, strength or natural ability.

Louis Bien of SB Nation wrote a profile on Wentz, focusing on his personality and mindset.

Wentz’s most important attribute may be his ability to chill. He has been extraordinarily good at focusing on the most important task at any moment, even in the midst of so much literal and figurative noise. He’ll be one of the biggest names in football in a week, but despite how it may seem, there’s no real reason why Wentz needs to change a thing.

“Once the day is done it’s like, ‘Hey, let’s just be a normal person again, let’s just worry about other things in life. Let’s play video games, let’s spend time with my dog,'” Wentz says. “I’m still just a normal guy, normal 23-year-old man — that’s got a life change coming up, but don’t make it bigger than it needs to be.

“It’s just a game of football out there.”

Les Bowen spoke with two of Wentz’s previous coaches about the young quarterback’s demeanor and capability of handling a big market city.

[Ron] Wingenbach said the NFL (and presumably the Eagles) will be getting someone with the kind of focus the league demands, “willing to put in 18-hour days.”

“He’s a football junkie. This guy is a football guy. He gets it,” Hedberg said. “He understands what it takes to break down a video . . . there’s players that watch two hours of video and they don’t know what they watched. This young man, he knows what he’s watching and he knows what he’s looking for. He’s capable of doing that at a high level.”

Philly is a tad different from Bismarck or Fargo. [Randy] Hedberg said that while there might be more fans and more media in a Northeastern city, “Bison Nation” is a real thing in North Dakota – Wentz is used to being the focal point of a team followed fervently by everyone he encounters, every day, all year.

“I don’t think he’s going to shy away from anything, as far as any criticism he might get; he’s going to stand up there and take it,” Hedberg said. “I don’t think anything’s going to be too big for Carson.”

Philly.com’s Bob Ford doesn’t think Andy Reid would have made the trade.

To emulate what happened under Andy Reid – sustained contention for a championship – is an obvious goal and [DougPederson seems to possess the right lineage for the job. He impressed Reid when both were in Green Bay, became the placeholder for [DonovanMcNabb in 1999, and, later on, grew into his current role by apprenticing as an assistant and a coordinator for Reid. It is a familiar back-to-the-future story line that, after three years of unpredictable page-turning with Chip Kelly, is like a well-worn bedtime tale, all cozy and comforting.

The only problem with the neat narrative is that what the Eagles did Wednesday is just about the last thing Reid would have done in that situation.

In the same circumstance – sitting with the eighth pick in the draft and with the roster currently in place – Andy Reid would have hunkered down, guarded his future draft picks, and taken the best offensive tackle available. Odds are that would have been Ronnie Stanley of Notre Dame at No. 8, but he would have come away with one of the four tackles with consensus first-round grades, and might even have been able to trade down to get one.

What he would not have done is spend his capital muddying a quarterback situation in which he already had a former Heisman Trophy winner who appears finally healthy and proved as much, despite ridiculous odds against him, in the latter stages of the previous season.

Chase Goodbread of NFL.com details the extensive testing the Eagles are doing with quarterback prospects in order to evaluate their ability to handle pressure.

The Eagles put [Dak Prescott] through a mock press conference to assess his ability to handle tough questions from reporters. 
“They wanted to get a feel for how I would represent the team. Obviously as a quarterback, you’re going to be the face of an organization, so it was important to them to see how I would react to different questions. That was the most unique thing I’ve done (at a visit),” Prescott said.
It wasn’t so much a test of Prescott’s postgame demeanor; the mock setting had more of a post-draft feel, as if Prescott was speaking to reporters for the first time after being selected by Philadelphia. Naturally, one Eagles official asked him about the DUI charge that Prescott incurred two days after MSU’s pro day last month, something he’ll surely be asked about in his first post-draft media interview in a new city. 
“They also threw in some football questions about plays they run, so it varied,” Prescott said. “I think the idea was to see how I would handle myself in an unpredictable situation. When I was done, they said I did a really good job.”
Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl of ESPN.com listed the best late-round draft teals in recent years. An Eagles made the list.
Cincinnati C Jason Kelce: 2011 sixth round (191st overall)
The Eagles found tremendous value late in the sixth round with Kelce, who was a starter from day one and has started in all 62 games he has appeared in throughout his first five seasons. Although he has dealt with some injuries and missed the majority of the 2012 season with a torn MCL, Kelce has developed into one of the top centers in the league while also earning a spot in the 2014 Pro Bowl.
Bill Barnwell compiled an “All-Trade Mock Draft,” including this hypothetical trade he thought might make sense for the Eagles.

Eagles trade Sam Bradford to the Jets for 2-51.

I wrote on Thursday about why the Eagles should deal Bradford. He has played his part, with reports suggesting that he’ll ask the Eagles to be traded in lieu of serving as a lame-duck starter this season. Philly could badly use the extra pick that would come with a Bradford trade and could install Chase Daniel as the starter until Carson Wentz is ready to take over.

The Jets would have to pay only Bradford’s $7 million base salary this season, crucial for a team that is $1.4 million over the cap after you account for the money needed to sign their draft picks. (They would likely have to cut Breno Giacomini and/or do something with Muhammad Wilkerson’s $15.7 million cap hold to clear out space.) Bradford would likely be an upgrade on the Ryan Fitzpatricks and Brian Hoyers of the world, even if they played better than the former first overall pick last year; Bradford also would be a solid fit in Chan Gailey’s spread attack.