Over the past week it has become clear Carson Wentz is somehow wildly underrated by NFL observers. The 27-year-old Philadelphia Eagles quarterback was selected 11th when ESPN's NFL Nation did a draft of all the league's current players. Given his track record, that's far too low. For some reason, people discount what Wentz has done on the field during his four NFL seasons.
Perhaps the most shocking thing about ESPN's draft exercise is the fact that Ronnie Stanley (No. 6) and Nick Bosa (No. 11) went ahead of him. A 40-year-old Drew Brees also went eighth. If you were building an NFL team from the ground up, why would you select an offensive tackle, a defensive end or an old quarterback over Wentz? As if that wasn't enough, Pro Football Focus not only ranked Wentz outside its list of the top 50 players in the NFL, it didn't even put him on the list of the guys who just missed.
Based on the numbers, I'm absolutely not overrating Wentz. Yes, he's had injuries, but he's only missed eight regular season games in his four NFL seasons. He's never missed an entire season and it appears the back injury that plagued him in 2018 is a thing of the past. He also got knocked out of Philadelphia's Wild Card game against the Seahawks in January but that came after a helmet-to-helmet hit from Jadeveon Clowney. It would have sent any quarterback to the locker room.
When digging into the numbers, one thing is clear: Wentz doesn't throw interceptions. If you take his rookie year out of the equation (which is fair for an NFL quarterback), he has thrown 81 touchdowns against 21 interceptions. He's thrown a measly seven interceptions in each of the past three seasons.
Wentz finished 2019 completing 63.9 percent of his passes for 4,039 yards, with 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions. The only alarming number was his 6.7 yards per attempt, which dropped a full yard from 2018 to 2019, but it's also worth considering his receiving corps was among the worst in the NFL. None of Philadelphia's top three receiving yardage leaders was a wide receiver. Tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert led the team, while running back Miles Sanders was third.
Over the last three seasons, Wentz has completed 64.4 percent of his passes, averaged 7.2 yards per attempt and his passer rating is 98.3. Again, that's despite a lack of high-level weapons around him. Ertz is good but not an All-Pro type guy, Alshon Jeffery is long past his prime and the Eagles haven't had a 1,000-yard rusher during Wentz's career. Despite all of that, he's put up really good numbers.
In 2019, Wentz became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw 20 or more touchdowns and seven or fewer interceptions in three straight seasons. His 607 pass attempts were the fourth-most ever by a quarterback with seven or fewer interceptions. Additionally, his 97 touchdown passes through his first four seasons are the ninth-most in NFL history and, as mentioned above, he's missed eight regular season games, which means he'd likely be much higher on that list.
Yes, Wentz has gotten injured and missed games during his four NFL seasons. But when you look at his numbers, he's right on the edge of being a top quarterback. When you further consider the lack of help he's gotten from the roster around him it makes his track record even more impressive.
Wentz has already shown what he can do with a garbage receiving corps and a patchwork backfield. If the Eagles can somehow improve the talent around him, he'll prove just how underrated he is.