Chris Simms has been slowly announcing his annual list of the NFL’s Top 40 Quarterbacks. Right now, the analyst for NBC Sports doesn’t seem to be too keen on Carson Wentz. Simms seemingly disrespected the Eagles starting quarterback when he ranked him at No. 11.
Wentz recently inked a $128 million contract extension with the Eagles despite being injured for parts of the last two seasons. Simms cited those crucial missed snaps — 13 games in total, including the postseason — as reasons for not putting him higher on the chart. To his credit, Simms had Wentz ranked as high as No. 3 on his list before the Eagles quarterback tore his ACL in 2018.
“It’s really availability, that’s the No. 1 reason,” Simms said. “The talent is Top 5 talent. The talent to carry a team, make plays off schedule, scramble, run, throws on the run, stand in the pocket — he can do all those things. I’ve made the comparison all the time … he’s really to me, he’s really a more physically-gifted version of Andrew Luck.”
Wentz was ranked above the Cowboys’ Dak Prescott who came up at No. 13 for his athleticism. He also beat out the Rams’ Jared Goff who ranked at No. 19. These are the guys often likened to Wentz, primarily because they are the next two waiting for their own big paydays. The Chargers’ Philip Rivers finished one spot behind of Wentz at No. 12, with the Lions’ Matt Stafford falling at No. 14. Former Eagles backup Nick Foles took the No. 16 spot. The Top 10 quarterbacks have yet to be announced.
Simms went on to mention the leadership thing, referencing that clumsy Philly Voice report that painted Wentz as selfish, along with season-ending injuries that have slowed him down as concerning factors moving forward. “I don’t know what he is or where his mind is at this point,” he said.
Again, Simms likes Wentz’s talent level overall but has trouble relying on him due to his inability to stay healthy. It’s not the first time “North Dakota Tough” has been criticized and undervalued. In May, The Sporting News put out their rankings of the Top 32 Quarterbacks and Wentz predictably landed low, in that same No. 11 slot.
Wentz, a physical and athletic freak who got strong MVP consideration in 2017 before his knee injury, would be ranked higher if not for concerns about his durability going into Year 4. He has a good chance to quickly change that narrative this season. The Eagles no longer have a good backup plan, and they are investing more in Wentz’s playmakers and protection.
This is going to continue to be the narrative with Wentz until he proves he can withstand a full 16-game schedule. Fair or not. As far as stats, Wentz has been a freak of nature in that department since his rookie year.
The 6-foot-5 gunslinger has thrown for 10,152 yards in 40 starts while chucking 70 touchdowns against 28 interceptions. The 26-year-old is just the third quarterback in NFL history to register a 100-plus passer rating in two of his first three seasons.
“No matter what’s happened in the past, no matter what’s expected of you in the future, there is always that pressure,” Wentz told reporters after signing his extension. “For me, that’s not going to change how I prepare, how I focus, how I go out and compete every game. You just kind of have to block it out a little bit and just keep doing what you know how to do. That’s to just keep getting better every single day.”
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Wentz has looked phenomenal during OTAs and minicamp. The next step is to prove it once the games really count.