Philadelphia’s search for a franchise quarterback may have ended.
The Eagles selected North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz with the second pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. California quarterback Jared Goff was selected first by the Los Angeles Rams.
Wentz passed for 5,115 yards, 45 touchdowns and 14 interceptions for the Bisons. He also rushed for over 1,000 yards and 4.8 yards per carry. He is 6-foot-6 and 237-pounds, immediately making him one of the biggest quarterbacks in the NFL.
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“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,” his NFL Draft profile said. “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.”
Six quarterbacks have started at least three games for Philadelphia since Donovan McNabb was traded to Washington in April 2010. Replacing McNabb has proved a nearly impossible task.
Philadelphia used a 2007 second round pick on Kevin Kolb and a 2012 third round pick on Nick Foles. Aside from Foles’s 2013 campaign — 27 touchdowns and 2 interceptions — neither panned out.
The team also signed free agents Vince Young, Mike Vick and Mark Sanchez to try to solve their passing problems, but they combined for 25 wins and 28 losses.
The last of the six, Sam Bradford, is on the roster. Former Philadelphia head coach Chip Kelly traded Foles, plus the team’s 2015 fourth round pick and 2016 second round pick, for 2010 first overall pick Sam Bradford and St. Louis’ 2015 fifth round pick. Bradford reportedly wants out of Philadelphia for a chance to start for a different team.
The Eagles recently hired head coach Doug Pederson, who ironically lost the starting job to McNabb in 1999. Philadelphia, under its new coaching staff, traded away its 2016 and 2017 first round picks, a 2018 second round pick, plus 2016 third and fourth round picks to Cleveland to move up six spots in the first round to select their quarterback.
It’s the type of deal that could set the franchise’s rebuild back several years or jump-start years of success.
That’s also the type of gamble a team takes when it hasn’t won a playoff game in eight seasons.