North Dakota State Bison quarterback Carson Wentz is the hottest name in NFL draft circles. The 6'5" 232-pounder didn't attend a Division I school, but most talent evaluators believe he has the goods to be a franchise quarterback.
Here's what Lance Zierlein of NFL.com wrote about Wentz:
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. 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 FBS program, but has the mental and physical building blocks of a future, franchise quarterback.
Based on that talent evaluation, and similar ones from other draft prognosticators, it would be a shock if Wentz doesn't hear his name called within the first eight picks. Here's the latest first-round mock draft with a predicted landing spot for Wentz and the other top prospects available.
|NFL Draft 2016 Mock Draft|
|1||Tennessee Titans||Laremy Tunsil||OT||Ole Miss|
|2||Cleveland Browns||Carson Wentz||QB||North Dakota St.|
|3||San Diego Chargers||Ronnie Stanley||OT||Notre Dame|
|4||Dallas Cowboys||Joey Bosa||DL||Ohio State|
|5||Jacksonville Jaguars||Jalen Ramsey||CB/S||Florida State|
|6||Baltimore Ravens||Mackensie Alexander||CB||Clemson|
|7||San Francisco 49ers||Jared Goff||QB||Cal|
|8||Miami Dolphins||Myles Jack||LB||UCLA|
|9||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||DeForest Buckner||DE||Oregon|
|10||New York Giants||Reggie Ragland||LB||Alabama|
|11||Chicago Bears||Leonard Floyd||OLB||Georgia|
|12||New Orleans Saints||A'Shawn Robinson||DT||Alabama|
|13||Philadelphia Eagles||Taylor Decker||OT||Ohio State|
|14||Oakland Raiders||Vernon Hargreaves III||CB||Florida|
|15||Los Angeles Rams||Paxton Lynch||QB||Memphis|
|16||Detroit Lions||Jack Conklin||OT||Michigan State|
|17||Atlanta Falcons||Shilique Calhoun||DE||Michigan State|
|18||Indianapolis Colts||Ezekiel Elliott||RB||Ohio State|
|19||Buffalo Bills||Jaylon Smith||LB||Notre Dame|
|20||New York Jets||Shaq Lawson||DE||Clemson|
|21||Washington||Laquon Treadwell||WR||Ole Miss|
|22||Houston Texans||Robert Nkemdiche||DL||Ole Miss|
|23||Minnesota Vikings||Michael Thomas||WR||Ohio State|
|24||Cincinnati Bengals||Emmanuel Ogbah||DE||Oklahoma State|
|25||Pittsburgh Steelers||Kendall Fuller||CB||Virginia Tech|
|26||Seattle Seahawks||Noah Spence||DE/LB||Eastern Kentucky|
|27||Green Bay Packers||Sheldon Rankins||DT||Louisville|
|28||Kansas City Chiefs||Corey Coleman||WR||Baylor|
|29||Arizona Cardinals||Shilique Calhoun||DE||Michigan State|
|30||Denver Broncos||Jason Spriggs||OT||Indiana|
|31||Carolina Panthers||Eli Apple||CB||Ohio State|
|Predictions by Mazique.|
Jared Goff vs. Carson Wentz
Many draft experts are having a hard time determining whether the California Golden Bears quarterback prospect Jared Goff or Wentz is the top prospect at the position. It could be a case of six in one hand and half-a-dozen in the other.
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Because the two teams with the biggest need for a QB within the top 10 picks have very different climates in their home states, the ability to produce in the cold could be the determining factor. Wentz played his college career in the blustery winds of North Dakota in high school. There's no doubt he's accustomed to operating in cold temperatures.
Goff is a California kid who may be able to make the switch, a la Aaron Rodgers—who also came from Cal and has had a Hall of Fame-worthy career with the Green Bay Packers.
If you're the Cleveland Browns, the safer bet would be Wentz. As Zierlein indicated, Wentz passes all of the eye tests and he has the characteristics of a natural leader. Thus, the predicted spot for him is Cleveland.
Goff is a little slighter than Wentz, and everything about him says West Coast QB. At 6'4" 215 pounds, he's a little thin, but there's no reason to believe he can't bulk up for the NFL grind. His Cali roots would make him a popular selection for the San Francisco 49ers at No. 7.
His ability to run a fast-paced offense might make him an ideal candidate to run new head coach Chip Kelly's system.
The Chicago Bears have several needs, the biggest are at cornerback and safety. There won't be a player worthy of the No. 11 pick available. Because of that, Chicago should look at filling another need on the defensive side of the ball.
A pass-rusher to accompany Pernell McPhee would be a welcomed addition. After Ohio State's Joey Bosa is off the board within the top three picks, the next best option is 3-4 outside linebacker Leonard Floyd from the Georgia Bulldogs.
At 6'4" 231 pounds, Floyd is thinner than most defensive coordinators would prefer, but he has freakish athleticism. He's so quick and rangy, that he looks like a player who could develop into a double-digit sack producer if he's coached properly and gains a little muscle.
The top running back prospect in the draft looks to be the Ohio State Buckeyes running back Ezekiel Elliott. There's a few teams that could use a workhorse back like Elliott, but which will be willing to make him a first-round pick?
Expect that to be the Indianapolis Colts at No. 18.
Andrew Luck needs a ton of help on offense, and a dependable back would be a big asset. Elliott has the size and power to be an instant force in the NFL. At 6'0" 225 pounds, he's already built like an NFL back. He possesses excellent vision and enough breakaway speed to hit the occasional home run if he's given the room.
He'd be a great fit in the Colts backfield.