PFF scouting report: Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State

Steve Palazzolo and the PFF draft analysts break down the play of North Dakota State's Carson Wentz ahead of the 2016 NFL draft.

| 7 months ago
(Photo by David K Purdy/Getty Images)

(Photo by David K Purdy/Getty Images)

PFF scouting report: Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State

Below is the PFF draft profile for North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz, which incorporates PFF’s college grades and scouting intel from our team of analysts. To see all of PFF’s 2016 scouting reports, click here.

Position fit: Starting QB

Stats to know: Finished with the ninth-overall grade in the draft class, but had the best raw grade per dropback. Accuracy percentage of 38.5 percent on deep (20+ yard) passes ranked 29th in the draft class. Accuracy percentage of 57.1 percent when pressured tied for 27th in the draft class.

What he does best:
• Arm stands out. Throws with great velocity
• Can fire the ball in there on the deep out/comeback. Made far-hash throws look easy at the college level
• Arm strength on comebacks and seam routes make him a prime candidate for a vertical passing system
• Did a nice job finding the open man and moving the chains in the 1-10 yard range, even if his timing was less than ideal at times
• Did a nice job as a designed runner and as a scrambler in college. Can pick up yards on the ground, but not sure how much his future team will want him to do so at the next level
• Throws with anticipation on first-read throws, can zip the curl route before the wide receiver’s break
• “Shows” touch, but it’s often a much slower throwing motion and his accuracy is hit or miss
• Ranked second in the draft class in adjusted completion percentage at the intermediate (11-20 yard) range at 70.7 percent
• Inexperience. Has his warts, but given how few snaps he’s played, ceiling remains high

Biggest concerns:
• Slow to process in the passing game. Will be late on short and intermediate throws, but arm strength bails him out. Will this still work at the next level?
• Rarely got to a third read in his progression, even when running common, staple passing concepts. Their boot play had three options and Wentz would regularly miss the third receiver, even when the first two receivers were covered
• Inexperienced. Much of Wentz’s lure is the physical size and arm, but will he progress and maximize his potential?
• Accuracy at 21-30 yard range was well below average, his adjusted completion percentage of 43.5 percent ranked 23rd in the draft class. For a big-armed quarterback, has to take advantage of throws in this range to maximize his potential
• Not always nimble maneuvering the pocket. Attempted only eight passes after breaking the pocket and completed one for negative-five yards

Bottom line: There’s a lot to like about Wentz, but still so many question marks. The size and big arm stand out, and it’s not just aesthetics – his velocity is an asset at the short and intermediate range at the next level. The concern is whether or not the big arm loses accuracy beyond 20 yards to be effective. He’ll flash some touch on the deep ball, but it’s far too inconsistent at this point. Wentz would fit well into a vertical passing offense that will allow him to zip throws into the 15-25 yard range while moving the ball in chunks. His lack of timing in the passing game is a major concern, but if he can iron it out, the upside is immense. Any team drafting Wentz is banking on huge improvement in a number of areas, but given his relative lack of experience, the gamble may just be worthwhile.

  • KAO

    Gonna be a bust. Can see it a mile away.

    • The Mysteries of Bob

      Me too.

      He is the most overrated prospect in the draft by a wide margin. The way people talk about him I was expecting to see a guy that was dominating his FCS opponents the way Stephen Curry does in the NBA.

      Not even close, his team doesn’t need him to win, he threw over 30 passes in a game only once, NDSU averaged more points per game without him and they previously won three other championships. The “Wentz elite prospect” narrative has too many plot holes

      He is like Weeden, stares down receivers and when his first read isn’t open he takes long pauses, also has cement feet when moving in the pocket. To be the highest drafted QB in the FCS history McNair was so dominant he was a Heisman nominee playing for Alcorn State, thinking Wentz should go higher than him is baffling.

      • KAO

        Very well said. He should be drafted in the 20s.

      • LS

        His team definitely needed him his junior year in order to win. The defense was much weaker than it had been in the 3 previous title runs. He won games with last minute drives multiple times in the playoffs, including in the national championship.

        • Nowhere Man

          NDSU was 16th in scoring offense and 27th in total offense. They were 5th in scoring defense and 3rd in total defense. NDSU went 5-2 with Wentz this year and 8-0 without, and he was really bad when he returned for the title game. Yeah, they needed him badly.

          • staup640

            He was the MVP of the title game. What are you talking about?

          • Nowhere Man

            He was the MVP of the title game because he’s the quarterback. He had a 55% completion percentage, an unbelievably mediocre 6.8 Y/A, 1 passing touchdown, and 2 interceptions. That’s a terrible passing line for anyone. And yes, I’m omitting his rushing stats because Easton Stick was actually a better runner all year than Wentz was, so there is no argument that “his legs make the difference in their offense.”

          • staup640

            Uh yes, there is. Taking stats from one game like that is 100% meaningless. Did he make clutch throws? Did he run for key yards? Your comment says nothing about the game. And yes, I think the scouting department of NFL teams will provide analysis that is much better than yours.

          • Nowhere Man

            I’m not taking stats from one game. You pointed out that one game as a rebuttal and I’m merely pointing out that he did no better than his backup could have in a game where his defense dominated anyway.

            What clutch throws did he have to make in a defensive blowout? You’re seriously giving non-quantifiable, anecdotal crap that you can’t even answer? The NFL teams’ analyses point out something I’ve acknowledged from the beginning: His physical traits and work ethic are impeccable. That’s why he was drafted high. It doesn’t mean his mechanics were/are still severely flawed as of right now.

            My original response was that they didn’t “need” Wentz this year, and I’m not wrong. Easton Stick put up superior numbers, NDSU had superior team offensive numbers with him at QB, and he didn’t lose a game this year in one more start than Wentz, whereas Wentz lost two. Where is your counterargument to that? Try to stay on topic, bud.

          • staup640

            So in other words, you haven’t watched the game in depth and don’t know what you’re talking about. I didn’t respond to you saying “they didn’t need Wentz this year.” I responded to the fact that you said he was horrible in the title game, a game in which you seem to know very little about.

      • Ben Polinsky


        • Jeff Hampton


    • Ben Polinsky

      Better get some thicker lenses.

      • K-Dub(F.E.F.)

        Its only 2 games and if he doesnt change some things he will be an injury bust cuz he wont last. His smarts are outstanding though. Def encouraging. Is that better Wentz Cheerleader? lol

        • Ben Polinsky


  • Johnny

    Bust factor 95% too many questions to be fixed. I just don’t see it, I think it’s absolutely absurd to draft him top ten.

    • Ben Polinsky

      How’s working for the Browns?

    • Michael Pahl


  • MosesZD

    It amazes me that he gets Top-5 consideration. (PFF has the 49ers trading up to get him even though the 49ers have only done what one could call ‘due diligence’ scouting on him, vs the heavy scouting they’ve done on Goff & Cook.)

    But that’s how the hype machine works. Suddenly some guy who should be a low-first-round project QB is the Next Johnny Unitas/Dan Marino/Peyton Manning/HOF QB prospect. And it’s almost always based on his ‘tools’ while his flaws are discounted.

    Well before his hype train started, I was wanting the 49ers to trade down into the high-20s to get him. Now half the mock drafts I read have him at #1.

  • perfectgent

    He will make the Eagles long for Ryan Leaf