The top two quarterbacks in this year’s NFL Draft are Carson Wentz and Jared Goff.
That we know. But which one is better?
“I’m a Carson Wentz guy,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I went back and I put the first tape in – I’m going back to October – he was just a name on a sheet of quarterbacks I had to get through. Didn’t know a thing about him, and after I watched the first tape, I was like, ‘Wow, I hope the next one is just as good.’ The next one was better. I watched every throw this kid made last year. He only has 23 starts at the Division I-AA level so people are skeptical, (but) the more I get to know the kid and the people that surround him, the more I buy in. I think he’s got all the physical attributes, and I think he’s got all the intangibles. Im really bullish on this kid.”
As for on-field concerns, Mayock has a few.
“He has to speed the process up a little bit, both in understanding what’s happening pre-snap and post-snap, and No. 2, getting the ball out more quickly,” Mayock said. “I think that’s a traditional issue for college quarterbacks, but because he’s only had 23 starts, I think it’s a little more worrisome for him.”
Wentz, a 6-5, 237-pounder, compares favorably to 6-6, 245-pound Joe Flacco, who made 27 starts at Delaware before getting drafted by the Ravens. Wentz also performed well at the Senior Bowl, so if you’re worried about him making the transition from facing Northern Iowa to facing, say, the Chicago Bears, don’t be.
“If you go to the Senior Bowl and not only compete, but dominate, it kind of eliminates that concern for most GMs,” Mayock said. “This kid went in, he was the best quarterback there, it wasn’t too big for him, and every team I talked to that spent time with the kid in Mobile and in Indianapolis for the Combine came away highly impressed.”
Mayock believes Wentz is not only the No. 1 quarterback in this year’s draft, but also a top-five prospect regardless of position. He believes Wentz is on par with Laremy Tunsil, Joey Bosa, Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack and others.
“The fact that I’m going to plug him in with those guys tells you how strongly I feel about the kid,” Mayock said.
Looking at other skill positions, Ezekiel Elliott is far and away the top running back prospect in the draft, but is he worthy of a top-10 pick? Is he good enough?
“He is good enough, but a team has to make a philosophical commitment to who he is,” Mayock said. “I don’t think you take him at pick No. 4 or pick No. 8 – Dallas or Philly or wherever – unless you’re committed to run the football, unless you’re committed to have fullbacks and tight ends and an infrastructure to support this kid. If you’re not going to do that, then you might as well wait until the third or fourth round and go pick up a guy that’s going to be a third-down, change-of-pace guy – like other teams do by committee.”
Elliott led Ohio State to a national championship after the 2014 season and a Fiesta Bowl win over Notre Dame after the 2015 season. He was, however, sharply criticized for criticizing Ohio State’s coaching staff after the Buckeyes’ only loss of the season last year. Elliott ran just 12 times for 33 yards and a touchdown in a 17-14 loss to Michigan State in November, thus ending Ohio State’s 23-game winning streak.
“The kid was right. He should have been given the rock,” Mayock said. “He handled it wrong after the game by going public, but if you put the tape on, all he does in the second half is knock down defensive ends and linebackers when they were doing their quarterback run game. He’s a great tailback, he can catch the football and he can block. So he’s the full package, but you better commit to him if you draft him high.”