Carson Wentz knows he has an awful lot of questions to answer. About his lack of experience. About the level of competition he faced in college. About how he’ll transition to the NFL.
Despite playing in the FCS, Wentz certainly isn’t lacking in confidence.
“I think I’ve shown that I’m a winner,” Wentz said. “I think I (have) a lot of intangibles that people might not see. I think my physical abilities speak for themself.
Complete coverage of the Philadelphia Eagles and their NFL rivals from NBC Sports Philadelphia.
“I do a lot of things behind the scenes as far as my leadership and my intelligence that can really make myself a great quarterback going forward.”
Wentz, expected to be the Eagles’ selection with the second pick in this year’s draft, spoke to Comcast SportsNet’s John Clark Tuesday afternoon at O’Hare Airport in Chicago, where the first round of the draft takes place on Thursday evening.
“It’s kind of how I’m wired,” Wentz said. “I’m wired to be as competitive as it gets, and I want to be the best at whatever it is I’m doing, and toughness comes along with that and just a lot of determination to get what I want type of thing.”
Wentz was a two-time FCS Championship Game MVP. He threw 45 touchdowns and 14 interceptions at North Dakota State, completing 64 percent of his passes for over 5,000 yards.
Although nothing is official, it’s expected that the Rams will take Jared Goff with the first pick, leaving Wentz for the Eagles.
But Wentz said he still doesn’t know where he’s headed Thursday night.
“No, haven’t heard much,” he said. “It’s kind of a game-time decision from talking to my agents. We’ll find out here soon.
“But I know it can’t come soon enough. It’s been a long process ,and wherever I end up I’m excited as heck to just go in there and to compete and look forward to hopefully winning a lot of ball games.”
The Eagles were impressed with Wentz’s ability to grasp complicated concepts and quickly pick up fundamental elements of the team’s offense on the whiteboard during the interview process.
Wentz said North Dakota State may not be a Division 1-A school, but the Bison ran a big-time offense that wasn’t easy to pick up, and he thinks that will help him learn the Eagles’ offense as fast as possible.
“Yeah, North Dakota State, the offense we ran was very complex,” he said. “It’s always been easy in this process to just line those things up with schemes coaches are giving me at the next level. So many things overlap. They’re all called something different, but protections are similar, concepts are similar, progressions are similar.
“It’s all very similar and relative, it’s just got a new name to it. So I’m hoping that transition should go pretty smoothly.”
Wentz had dinner in Fargo, N.D., recently with Eagles head coach Doug Pederson, offensive coordinator Frank Reich and quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo. He said he was impressed with their passion and thinks they’ll be a terrific group of mentors for a young quarterback learning the NFL game for the first time.
“They just seemed like a bunch of great guys,” he said. “You can tell. They’ve got a bunch of former quarterbacks and that would always be beneficial. But I thought they were just a bunch of great guys, that loved football.
“Throughout the coaches, to be honest with you, all the coaches I met seemed so passionate, and I’d be excited to work with a number of them.”
Wentz spoke about the difference between playing at North Dakota State, where he was a beloved celebrity and lost only three games in his career, to playing in Philly, where the fans might be just a little bit tougher.
He said he’s ready for anything.
“I think my faith keeps me grounded through a lot of things,” he said. “Never too high any moments and never too low. It’s always kind of, ‘It is what it is.’
“North Dakota State is a big football program but obviously going to the next level - wherever I may wind up – is going to be a lot more scrutiny. A lot more positive, negative, you name it. Just got to block it out and just go play football.”
Wentz had little to say about Sam Bradford’s situation, even though it’s one that could ultimately affect when Wentz plays.
“I don’t really know how that will all play out,” he said. “That’s not for my speculation. We’ll see what happens.”
As for becoming quarterback of the Eagles, he said he’s not really thinking that way until he actually hears his name announced Thursday night.
“I’ll be excited to hear my name wherever I end up,” he said. “I don’t want to speculate yet but we’ll find out soon enough.”