Thirty-one teams pass on Wentz in trade opportunity -- one guy was right all along.


    As recently as August of 2018, an NBC sports writer out of Philadelphia penned a blog article  that began "None of us need another reason to laugh at the Browns, but here we are."

   The article chided the Browns for "passing on" Carson Wentz. It then mockingly asked its reader to "remember when the Moneyball dude said that dumb thing about Wentz not being a top-20 QB when they made the trade?"

    The reference is, of course, to Paul DePodesta who frankly answered why the Browns did not use the #2 overall pick in the draft to sign Carson Wentz as follows:
Even though you have a desperate need for [a quarterback] , you have to resist the temptation of taking that guy just because you have a need if you don't believe he's one of those 20 guys at the end of the day," . . . . "I think that's the hardest part, just maintaining your discipline because you have the need. That's what we did this year.

    Ironically, the article then went on to mock the Browns a second time for not taking Jack Conklin at #8 overall -- the position to which they originally traded down. 

But the Browns weren’t done there. They then traded out of the eighth pick with the Titans. Tennessee went on to draft Jack Conklin. All Conklin did was become an All-Pro as a rookie. 

    Fast forward to today and it is the Browns who are the big winners on both accounts.   The Brown and Orange have Jack Conklin lining up at tackle.  Even better, they didn't get sucked into the honeypot by drafting Wentz at #2 overall only to realize he is not a top 20 performer in the NFL.  Nor did they compound such a mistake by foolishly signing him to a top tier contract extension only to realize that he is incapable of getting to the second progression in his reads.

    But it wasn't just some unknown NBC junior reporter who was so spectacularly wrong in his opinion.   Proving that the sports field does not attract the sharpest crayons in any box, a number of well-known names piled on.

    Local Browns beat reporter Jeff Shudel expressed his opinion that passing on Wentz was a fireable offense.

    Numerous local sports personalities joined in the sentiment, but few will probably admit it now.   Nor will they admit that they criticized the Browns for not offering more than the then Washington Redskins to trade up to the second pick to select RGIII.   Remember that common take?   Dull, broken crayons by the lot!

    The Eagles have jettisoned a head coach in Doug Pederson who not only brought them a Superbowl victory just a few years ago, but did it by lighting up top-caliber playoff defenses -- Minnesota and New England -- with journeyman Nick Foles pulling the trigger.   Ignoring the obvious -- that Wentz's early successes came as a "made man" with great play calling (often featuring tight ends and a running back screen game) and a surrounding cast that could be kept together only while paying a quarterback a rookie salary -- the Eagles committed to paying Wentz like he was a top-tier quarterback.    That was their downfall.

    Wentz has slow eyes.  He struggles to get through his progressions. While he is difficult to bring down and has a knack for making plays outside of structure, injuries have limited that part of his game.  With a disproportionate share of the salary cap being paid to him by the Eagles, he could no longer be uplifted by a superior supporting cast or just great play-calling.   The burden of an Aaron Rogers or Russell Wilson fell on his shoulders.    Wentz was grossly overmatched.  He was playing checkers in a game of chess.   In spectacular fashion, Wentz proved he isn't a top 20 quarterback under normal circumstances.    Anyone who thinks that his early-career successes would have occurred with Hue Jackson calling plays and with the supporting cast that DeShone Kizer played behind as a 20-year-old is as blind as Wentz is to the third receiver in his progression.

    Just how bad was Wentz in 2020?

Carson Wentz Stat Rank  
 QB rating72.8 34th (among 35 qualifying QBs)
 TD passes16 20th 
 INTs15 Most in the NFL 
 Fumbles10 Second-most in the NFL 
 Sacks taken50 Most in the NFL 
 YPA6.0 33rd (among 35 qualifying QBs)
 Completion %57.4% 34th (among 35 qualifying QBs)

    Wentz would have to stand on Jalen Hurts' shoulders just to see the guy who qualifies as the 20th best QB in the NFL.

    The Eagles are smartly cutting their losses.  This is even after they fired Doug Pederson, so it is obviously an organizational decision.  Frank Reich who worked alongside Doug Pederson to see Wentz's early successes is hoping that Wentz can give him more than Jacoby Brissett or one of the other quarterbacks that will be or become available in free agency.   No team would give up its #2 pick for Wentz at this point -- that has proven certain.   Smart money has Brissett starting enough games in Indy that the conditional 2022 pick that the Eagles received will not be a first-rounder.  The Eagles have still made the most of a bad situation.   The Colts on the other hand look to have made another "Trent Richardson" trade.  They bid against themselves, giving up a second and third round draft pick to acquire Wentz and his bloated salary.

    Wentz goes to a team where he is surrounded by talent on both sides of the ball.   He gets a coach who helped him to early career success.   But early-career success has not been the indicator of long-term NFL success that it once was.    Winston, Mariotta, Goff and Wentz all appeared to be one thing only to transform into another.  Watson and Mahommes appear to be transcendent talents.    Those two are the organizational misses by the Browns -- but few called them as misses in real time.  

    In a heartbeat I'll take Mayfield, Allen and and Jackson from the 2018 draft over Winston, Mariotta, Goff or Wentz. That is what Depodesta smartly engineered by building the capital it took to grab a quarterback when the time proved right.   John Dorsey believed it was Mayfield and exercised the pick.  Drafting Wentz and overvaluing him as a top 20 quarterback likely would have delayed the Browns' current path to success, not expedited it in 2016.

    DePodesta also was on record as wanting to hire Bills head coach Sean McDermott when the Browns hired Hue Jackson.   All that McDermott has done is lead the Bills to three straight playoff appearances.   He lobbied for Kevin Stefanski when Browns ownership listened to John Dorsey and promoted Freddie Kitchens.   Stefanski only won 12 games and ran away with coach of the year honors in his rookie campaign.

    It seems like the "Moneyball dude" might have had a movie made about him for a reason and the uncredited Philly "journalist" who mocked him those few years ago might remain anonymous for an equally good reason.

    It would seem easy enough to apply retrospect and mock the Browns for failing to draft their franchise quarterback season after season.  That happened and everyone did.  But today's truth holds that no quarterback drafted in the first round from 2009-2016 remains with the team that drafted him.  That now includes the "can't miss" college prospect who played in a second-tier college division, had a single 300 yard passing game in his college career, failed to break the 200 yard passing mark in 18 of the 29 games that he played in college, and who lost several college starts to frequent injury. 

    Who in their right mind would have passed on that?

Thirty-one teams pass on Wentz in trade opportunity -- one guy was right all along. Thirty-one teams pass on Wentz in trade opportunity --  one guy was right all along. Reviewed by AT Dawgger on 3:53 PM Rating: 5

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