Eagles Get Player They Wanted All Along in Carson Wentz

It was just over a week ago when vice president of football operations Howie Roseman stood in the NovaCare Complex and said the Eagles liked both of the top two quarterbacks in this year's class.

He even compared them to vanilla and chocolate ice cream, sausage and pepperoni pizza.

Well, turns out the Eagles did have a preference.

They wanted Carson Wentz.

And they got him with the No. 2 pick on Thursday night, after the Los Angeles Rams took Cal's Jared Goff at No. 1 (see story).

"He was the top player on our board," Roseman said about Wentz shortly after the pick was in.

While Roseman again on Thursday said the Eagles were "going to be comfortable" with either Goff or Wentz, he admitted he was confident the Rams were going to take Goff. Once they did, that left Wentz for the Eagles, which is what they really wanted all along.

Why did the Eagles prefer Wentz over Goff?

"I just think when you boil it down, size, strength, athleticism, his makeup mentally, the things that we saw when we had both of the guys here in the building and when we worked them out," head coach Doug Pederson said. "It really separated the two in our minds and made Carson the best."

Pederson, when asked, said there was a consensus within the Eagles' organization that Wentz, 23, was the top quarterback in the class.

The Eagles originally had the 13th pick in the draft, but traded with the Dolphins to get to No. 8 and then with the Browns to get to No. 2. Roseman again on Thursday claimed the two trades were independent and the plan wasn't to move up and get Wentz all along. But it's pretty clear the Eagles thought very highly of the quarterback.

Even Wentz knew early on that the Eagles seemed to be targeting him.

"I guess I got a pretty good sense throughout this process, every time I met with them, I talked to them," Wentz said on a conference call with Philadelphia reporters a little over an hour after he was picked. "I wasn't really sure how it would all transpire, wasn't sure what would happen. But I'm glad it all worked out the way it did. And I'm excited to be heading to Philadelphia."

The Eagles met with Wentz at the Senior Bowl, again at the combine, visited him in Fargo, North Dakota and brought him to the NovaCare Complex for a visit. They became interested in the North Dakota State product very early in the process.

"When you really just started breaking down the quarterbacks early in the spring and having a chance to watch both quarterbacks," Pederson said. "And all the quarterbacks, really. The top two really began to separate themselves and then again just through the process of evaluating them, working them out one on one, having them in the building. The other quarterbacks we had an opportunity to work out and look at and he really became the favorite for us."

Wentz became the first quarterback taken by the Eagles in the first round of the draft since Donovan McNabb in 1999. McNabb was also taken at No. 2. But unlike McNabb and just about every other quarterback taken in the first round of the draft, Wentz played football at an FCS (formerly Division I-AA) school.

Pederson on Thursday said he didn't concern himself very much about the level of competition Wentz faced in college.

"He's coming from a winning tradition, winning program at North Dakota State," Pederson said. "He's a winner himself. Gotta love the intangibles about him. Just when you get a chance to meet him in the building, one on one, his demeanor, his aggressiveness, his willingness to learn. Sharp kid. Really was a very attractive pick and fit for us."

And, as it turns out, he was the player they wanted all along.

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