The Latest QB Controversy

Dissecting the Eagles’ big gamble.

The number of North Dakota State quarterbacks who’ve made it to the NFL is the same as amount of acid rockers elected to the U.S. Senate—or, for that matter, the good decisions made in the last nine months by Johnny Trainwreck.

But don’t rush to indict the Eagles and Howie Roseman because the Bison don’t exactly have a sparkling legacy at that position. After consulting scouts and watching workouts and speaking to Carson Wentz, Roseman has decided that this is the time to place the Big Bet on the quarterback position. Forget that he’s already invested the GNP of Carjackistan in Sam Bradford and Chase “Doug Pederson 2016” Daniel. Roseman wants someone at the position who will do more than just hang around for a couple years. He wants the franchise guy. And he’s wagering everything that Wentz will fill that role.

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It’s a huge gamble, obviously. The Eagles gave up five draft choices to get Cleveland’s second overall pick, thereby saving the Browns from the abuse that would come once they botched that selection by taking a rugby player with “great upside.” Roseman also got a 2017 fourth-round choice in the deal, which he’s going to flip on Draft Day for some magic beans.

The decision makes perfect sense in theory. NFL teams aren’t tremendously successful without a great QB. Some might say Denver’s Super Bowl win over the Panthers disproves that theory. But while the Broncos’ title was accomplished largely because their defense was able to stop Cam Newton’s good-time dab-a-thon and render him silent (at least to the press) for the first time all season, Peyton Manning still played a big role. Though he wasn’t a dart-throwing savant, his experience and game management alchemy allowed the Broncos to score just enough. It’s nice that Brock Osweiler secured a fat free-agent contract from the Texans, but Denver probably doesn’t win the Super Bowl without Manning under center.

Bradford played well during the second half of last season—and let’s be honest about what he was facing. Having to run Maximum Leader’s college offense against opponents who knew what was coming before almost every snap wasn’t easy. That Bradford put up good numbers under those conditions was a testament to his talent. And the Eagles would have been competitive in the NFC East for the next couple years with him at the helm. Come to think of it, they probably will still be—since, if Bradford stays around, he’ll be the starter this year and perhaps next.

But he isn’t an elite player at the position. He’s injury prone, and his struggles early in the season revealed consistency issues. Bradford is just good enough to keep a team close to the top of a lousy division but not much else.

Thus, the trade.

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According to those in the know—like Haverford School alum Mike Mayock of the NFL Network—Wentz and California’s Jared Goff aren’t just the best of an average crop of quarterback prospects. Mayock likens the two to Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, last year’s franchisees at the position. He’s “all in” on Wentz and can’t say enough about his arm, character, brain and ability to handle the extracurricular quarterback duties, like audibling and changing protection schemes. If the Eagles do pick Wentz, they’ll be getting an A1-level prospect with the potential to be the kind of elite player winning teams need.

It’s a chance the Eagles must take. They can’t win big with the Bradford-Daniel axis under center. They need something more. Right now, that’s Wentz. We’ll see if the deal pays off handsomely.

Howie the Riverboat Gambler has made his play. The final card hits the table at about 8:30 Thursday night. Eagles fans had better hope it’s not a Joker.


EL HOMBRE SEZ: It’s clear the Flyers need to upgrade their offense after a one-goal performance by the troika of Wayne Simmonds, Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek, but the biggest takeaway from the 2015-16 season is that first-year coach Dave Hakstol got the team to play strong defense. That’s a big step for a club that once couldn’t stop anyone. … Boys’ lacrosse fans should head to Haverford School Friday for the first meeting of the season between the Fords and Malvern Prep, two of the nation’s best. 

Eagles QB prospect Carson Wentz

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