When the Philadelphia Eagles traded numerous valuable draft picks to move up and select Carson Wentz in the 2016 NFL draft, it was clear that the future of the franchise depended on his performance. In his first season, Wentz took the NFL by storm, throwing the ball for 3,782 yards along with 16 TDs. However, Wentz threw 14 INTs and was unable to close out late in games. Wentz learned from his mistakes from his rookie season and went into his second year ready to assert himself as an elite quarterback.
Through six games into the NFL season, Carson Wentz is frontrunner of the NFL award According to Bovada, the updated odds are below.
Of the top five candidates, are all quarterbacks:
- Carson Wentz: +175
- Alex Smith: +200
- Tom Brady: +400
- Deshaun Watson: +1,000
- Russell Wilson: +1,200
Despite occasionally missing a receiver, Wentz has been tremendous in all areas of his craft. As Wentz works around the pocket and delivers the ball to a receiver, his growth and maturation is conspicuous. When the defense has blitzed him, he stands in the pocket with the rush in his face, delivering passes to receivers, displaying his unwillingness to take a sack. When he has been unable to find an open receiver, he takes advantage of his large frame by maneuvering through the pocket, extending plays, buying time to allow receivers to get open and the down the field. In essence, his pocket awareness — both his ability to deliver the ball and to take off running while under duress— has allowed him to avoid sacks and, instead, produced big plays down the field. Last year, at times, we saw that Wentz would want to run with ball; this year he has figured out a balance between staying in the pocket and taking off for the first down. The biggest improvement for Wentz is his ability to convert on third downs this year, leading the NFL with a high 50.6 percent on all conversions. Wentz is calm and collected prior to any third down, regardless of the situation, permitting him to be highly efficient. What is interesting about the Eagles on the third down is that they tend to target third, fourth, and fifth options. Even while targeting lesser talent, Wentz has taken advantage of the mismatches, converting over 50 percent of the times.
All of the aforementioned improvements makes Wentz a legitimate MVP candidate. Statistically, Wentz is 126 of 207 (60.9%) for 1584 yards with 13 TDs and 3 INTs. At his current pace, Wentz will complete the season with 4,224 passing yards, 35 TDs, and just 8 INTs. Aside from the fact that Wentz will be an MVP candidate, as fans, we should be excited that Wentz is on pace to improve by 22 TDs and 7 INTs. What is alluring about Wentz is that he has been able to develop into a franchise quarterback only two seasons removed from North Dakota State— a division two school, where Wentz missed the majority of his senior season with a wrist injury. At Wentz’s current developing rate, there is no ceiling in terms of his abilities. Although Wentz is not the only reason that the Eagles have succeeded, it is the biggest reason.
Since Wentz appears to be the favorite to win the NFL MVP, I compared Wentz’s numbers from this season to that of Matt Ryan — Falcons’ Quarterback and last years’ MVP.
Although Ryan had the better season by all indications, Wentz is only in his second season; therefore, Eagles’ fans should not be bitter if he does not win. There will be many glorious seasons in our near future, where Wentz should be able to replicate or even exceed his numbers from this year. Additionally, as the season progresses,Wentz has the chance to enhance his case for MVP because the Eagles will improved. Nevertheless, this year there are no other quarterbacks who have been outstanding, so the MVP will be unclear until the end of the season, giving Wentz a chance to win the award.