Why QB Carson Wentz makes sense for the Eagles

The Senior Bowl is a time pre-combine for teams to get acclimated with some of the top names in college football preparing for the NFL Draft.

There is no bigger name at the Senior Bowl, which takes place on Saturday in Mobile, Alabama, than quarterback Carson Wentz.

The Eagles, like essentially all teams at the Senior Bowl, met with Wentz and liked what they saw. They met with him several times this week. Among those in the meetings was new head coach Doug Pederson.

"I liked him," Pederson said to Jeff McLane of the Inquirer. "He's got great size, good mobility, strong kid, good arm. It will be interesting to sit down and eventually talk with him and see where he's at mentally. But just by the eye, talented kid, looks like he can play in this league."

Wentz has flown completely under the radar as the quarterback for the FCS National Champion North Dakota State Bison. As a school that does not play in the BCS, Wentz was never in a bowl game or in the conversation for Heisman, leaving him relatively unknown.

Wentz's claim to fame is North Dakota State's five straight FCS National Championships from 2011 to 2015, all five years Wentz was at the school. The quarterback redshirted his freshman season in 2011 and was the starting quarterback in 2014 and 2015.

This season, Wentz missed seven games with a broken wrist, but still completed 62.5 percent of his passes (130-for-208) for 1,651 yards with 17 touchdowns and four interceptions.

What really matters in tying Wentz to the Eagles is the team's big offseason question of who will be the starting quarterback in 2016?

The Eagles have Sam Bradford waiting on any decision, but their aggression to finalize new contracts for as many as five players, three completing with the agreements from Zach Ertz, Brent Celek and Lane Johnson and two reportedly close with Fletcher Cox and Vinny Curry, gives the impression that Bradford may not be in the roster plans or the budget.

With Bradford looking for a higher payday, the Eagles could be working hard on the rest of the roster so they can start over at quarterback.

It's not so much selecting Wentz that works for the Eagles as much as it is the idea of drafting and developing a quarterback.

Given their offseason moves, all of which seem to be centered around locking up homegrown talent, the Eagles have hired a coaching staff that seems built to mold a young quarterback.

Pederson, a former quarterback himself and the former quarterbacks coach with the Eagles before making the move to Kansas City, has a track record for working well with quarterbacks. The next two in line on his staff, offensive coordinator Frank Reich and quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, are also former quarterbacks. With the three coaches in place, perhaps the motive for the Eagles is to draft a quarterback and develop him to become a franchise player.

If you're going to look at a quarterback, you might as well look at the one who turned heads for every NFL team at Senior Day.

In a year where the quarterback class isn't top-notch by any stretch, the Eagles could certainly be better suited to draft for other needs like the offensive line or the secondary. But that would still leave the decision of finding a quarterback, which could come down to overpaying for Bradford long-term, placing the franchise tag on Bradford for another one-year tryout or plugging in a different quarterback who has been exiled from his previous team.

That doesn't sound like a concrete plan. 

Given that the Eagles are placing a higher degree of accountability on the entire front office, if there is one move the Eagles want to get right over the coming seasons, it's getting the right quarterback in place. 

There are no guarantees that Wentz will turn out to be a success in the NFL, but he's progressed in his two seasons as starter at North Dakota State. He's certainly worth a flyer and would come at a much lesser cost than Bradford. The challenge will be getting Wentz when the Eagles are scheduled to be on the clock. They hold the 13th overall pick, but many project Wentz will go somewhere in the Top 10, potentially as high as fourth overall to the rival Dallas Cowboys.

It's worth the Eagles consideration, but judging by his Senior Day performance, they'll have some competition if they want to go after Wentz with their first-round pick.

Kevin Durso is managing editor for Eagledelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.

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