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Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers…Carson Wentz?

There is an indisputable hierarchy of quarterbacks in the National Football League, and it has remained relatively unchanged for the past 5 or 6 seasons – if not longer.

Tom Brady is the best at his position, as he is the greatest quarterback of all time. Aaron Rodgers has arguably occupied that number two spot since the 2010 playoffs. 

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Andrew Luck has been touted as the “heir to the throne” after father time catches up with Brady and Rodgers. Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd is infamous for his support of Luck, and hits the nail on the head with his conclusion about the top threes’ ability to “carry a team” regardless of the quality of the roster. 

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However, with Lucks’ lingering injury problems that have seen him inactive for what could be two seasons and the Colts’ inability to improve the rest of their team from season to season, it looks like Carson Wentz could be the next top tier NFL quarterback.

Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles look unstoppable so far this season, having lost only to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 2. The Eagles are the NFL’s last one-loss team as we approach the halfway point in the regular season.

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Pairing an elite defense with a dynamic offense that changes from week to week is a lethal combination, and Philly is dominating the NFC East. The centerpiece of the revival this year is Wentz, their second overall draft pick out of college football powerhouse (not really) North Dakota State University.

Despite his mediocre rookie season which fizzled out after the first five or six games of the season, Wentz went on to set Eagles and NFL rookie records nonetheless. Claiming ownership of the record of most passes completed by a rookie was no small feat, even though it was lost in the downfall of a predictable offense that defenses quickly learned to shut down. 

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In his rookie season, the North Carolina native threw 16 touchdowns against 14 interceptions. Through just seven weeks of this season, the Eagles quarterback has already eclipsed last year’s total with 17 touchdowns and just four interceptions.

He ran for just 150 yards in his freshman term, and so far this year is already flirting with the 200 mark with 196 rushing yards.

At this point, it’s almost impossible to discuss an emerging NFL franchise quarterback without mentioning the Cleveland Browns. In the case of Carson Wentz, the Philadelphia Eagles have no one else to thank besides the perpetually suffering franchise. 

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In the 2016 NFL draft, the Eagles gave up a king’s ransom to the Browns in order to move up to the number two overall pick to get their man. At the time, the Eagles didn’t know whether the Los Angeles Rams would select Jared Goff or Wentz, but scouting reports and rumors successfully predicted the Rams taking Goff.

Trading away no less than five picks to get a potential offensive cornerstone is one of the riskiest moves an NFL franchise can make, as losing that many draft picks can negatively affect the organisation for years if their gamble doesn’t pay off. 

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However, a franchise quarterback is nearly invaluable in the NFL and if a team makes a good selection as the Eagles clearly have, it could pay dividends for years to come.

According to EaglesWire, last September the Browns’ coach Hue Jackson said about Wentz: “At the time, he wasn’t the right fit for us. I think Carson has a really bright future, but we decided to go in a different direction.”

Not to pick on the Browns too much, but after their recent loss of faith in second-round pick Deshone Kizer, they find themselves in the exact same situation. To their credit, resisting that many draft picks when facing multiple holes to fill on offense and defense is extremely hard to resist given the uncertainty of scouting potential franchise players. 

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The Eagles 34-24 victory over the Redskins on Monday Night Football impeccably showcases Wentz’ incredible athletic ability and unbelievable potential. His third quarter touchdown pass to running back Corey Clement proved his insane strength paired with his escapability. Another highlight reel play came when he escaped a seemingly collapsed pocket to scramble for a first down on a crucial 3rd and 7.

Wentz is an Aaron Rodgers-esque gunslinger and has the size of Andrew Luck. A towering 6’7” 237 pound giant, he moves around the pocket like Russell Wilson and throws bullets like Drew Brees. He has immediately brought the Eagles from a discouraging 7-9 record to Super Bowl contenders in his sophomore campaign, and NFL insiders and reporters are already linking him to an MVP caliber season. 

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With Aaron Rodgers out for the season and Andrew Luck’s return to his old form this season looking grim, Carson Wentz is the quarterback to watch this year in the NFL.

Featured photograph: Wikimedia Commons

Matt Bowers
Having grown up in the United States as both a participant and observer of American sports, Matt was often the odd man out when it came to a certain specialist sport called "soccer". A recent graduate of the University of Central Missouri, a passion for sport and their globally-relevant dramatics led him to pursue them as a career. Having started this journey as an editor for a Premier League website, his aspirations and sporting interests reach far beyond European football. A lifelong American football and ice hockey fan, he has experience with professional clubs like the Kansas City Mavericks. Having spent his last semester of university in Madrid, he took a gap year after graduating to travel all over Europe. Needless to say, these journeys ignited a fire to experience and share incredible sports and cultural stories with people and fans all around the world.
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