2016 NFL Rookie Predictions: Carson Wentz

North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz of (11) sets back to pass during drills at an NCAA college football practice for the Senior Bowl, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016, at LaddPeebles Stadium, in Mobile, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Bench presses have been counted, cone drills have been clocked, and tape has been reviewed. While NFL scouts have been scribbling in their notebooks for months, fantasy owners are just now examining this year’s incoming class. Last month I highlighted nine under the radar prospects. Now, it’s time to tackle the bigger names. All of this in the hopes of keeping fans of the virtual game fully informed and a step ahead of the competition. Today’s college stud under the microscope is QB Carson Wentz.

[Other draft profiles: Dak Prescott | Paul McRobertsKeith MarshallPaxton Lynch | Daniel Lasco | Leonte Carroo]

College Highlights: Named North Dakota State’s starter in 2014, Wentz completed over 63 percent of his passes, throwing for 3,111 yards and 25 touchdowns. Additionally productive on the ground, Wentz became the school’s second leading rusher, racking up 642 yards and six scores via the ground. Starting 16 straight contests, the North Dakota native led his team to their fourth consecutive FCS Championship. 2015 proved much more of a challenge, however, as Wentz broke his wrist six games into his senior campaign. Yet despite missing eight weeks, the local kid made good again, averaging 277 total yards per outing and bringing home another FCS Championship for the Bison.

Pluses: Measuring 6-foot-5 and tipping the scales at 237 pounds, Wentz is the ideal size for the position. In possession of above-average arm strength and a quick release, the 23-year-old is capable of pinpoint accuracy in the short to intermediate passing game. His quick feet and impressive balance additionally allow him to extend plays with his legs and prevent him from being taken down easily. Considered highly intelligent and of good character, Wentz’s ability to lead has been lauded by scouts.

Minuses: Wentz struggles downfield, heaving passes that often lack accuracy and touch. He also has a habit of locking in on targets and not recognizing when the play is over. While his determination is admirable, he’s sometimes overly aggressive, throwing the ball into double coverage. Having started just 23 contests over the past two years, his experience leaves something to be desired. Additionally, he’s faced a much softer level of competition.

Pro-Comp(s): Ryan Tannehill, Alex Smith, Joe Flacco

Team Fits: Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions

[Other draft profiles: Dak Prescott | Paul McRobertsKeith MarshallPaxton Lynch | Daniel Lasco | Leonte Carroo]

Fearless Forecast: Big, athletic, and a touch arrogant… Wentz checks plenty of NFL caliber boxes. But his best chance of starting is in Cleveland. Even if he beats out RG3 for the gig, he’s still unlikely to make an immediate fantasy impact. While the Browns have added Hue Jackson and boast a burgeoning backfield, they don’t have targets in the passing game talented enough to elevate a player as green as Wentz (Josh Gordon notwithstanding). If, on the other hand, Cleveland doesn’t draft the small school stud then he’s going to sit behind an already established QB. Ultimately, he’s an attractive stash for dynasty owners (I have him ranked just outside of my top 25 rookies) and nothing more than a name to track for redrafters.

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