It's all measuring up right for Wentz
(STATS) - It didn't matter if it was football or baseball, checkers or, well, consuming the most food at the buffet, Carson Wentz says his competitiveness has been unlimited since he grew up in North Dakota.
So all those questions about whether coming from an FCS-level program puts him at a disadvantage as he heads into the NFL, they were never going to faze him during the buildup to this week's draft.
He belongs with all the other prospects - he knows it and he's ready to stomach anything thrown at him.
"Let me tell you right now - football is football, no matter if it's played in the Rose Bowl or on a dusty field in Bismarck," Wentz wrote Monday on The Players' Tribune.
"After competing at all-star games and the (NFL) combine, I know that I have much more in common with guys who played FBS football than I have differences. Heck, we even beat a few of their teams while I was in college. Like I said before, football is football. At North Dakota State, I was taught to recognize the same zone pressures, blitzes, stunts and twists as the other guys in the draft. Our offense would run the ball with no receivers and then spread it out wide with five guys. We did it all."
Working in a pro-style offense, Wentz guided North Dakota State to its two most recent (of five straight) FCS national championships.
The Philadelphia Eagles, who are expected to select Wentz second overall in the first round Thursday night, have both a franchise and city starved for a championship.
His gritty, let-the-results-speak-for-themselves style just might be a better fit for Philadelphia than the glitz and glamour in Los Angeles, whose Rams are expected to use the No. 1 pick on Cal quarterback Jared Goff - although they haven't said so.
"The speed will be an adjustment, but it is for everybody, whether you're coming from the SEC or Division III," added Wentz, who presumably would be groomed into a starter's role by the Eagles behind Sam Bradford. "I'm as ready for it as I can possibly be."
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was the most recent FCS player selected in the first round - the 18th pick in 2008 from the University of Delaware. He, too, is a championship winner - the Super Bowl variety.
A native of a Philadelphia suburb across the Delaware River, Flacco knows about the toughness needed to compete in the City of Brotherly Love. He also knows about running an offense and dropping a downfield pass into tight coverage, and he foresees Wentz making a successful jump from the FCS to the NFL.
"If you're a good football player, it doesn't matter where you played at, and I think that's especially true as a quarterback," Flacco said on the "Ron Jaworski Show" on 97.5 The Fanatic.
"When you're a quarterback, it's all relative to a certain point. You're not throwing to a 6-foot-4 receiver that runs a 4.3 against all I-AA corners. The windows are the same. It might not be technically as fast as some of the higher-level games. But, at the end of the day, the window is just as small because everyone on the field is notched down a little bit."
Wentz has measured up quite well in the draft class and not just because of his prototypical size for a quarterback - 6-foot-5, 237 pounds with 10-inch hands. His throwing mechanics and arm strength, mobility and intelligence have checked all the right boxes.
Not to mention his competitiveness.
"The biggest thing I bring to the team is it's hard to beat the fact that I'm a winner," Wentz told NFL Network at his pro day last month. "Definitely, a pocket passer, but you know I feel like I can make plays on the move and extend plays. I feel like I'm very versatile, I feel like I can make plays as well on the run. I'm a competitive guy and if I'm not the best at something I'm going to work my tail off to be the best. It's just kind of how I'm wired."