In an indirect way, the NFL success story of Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco helped elevate the draft stock of Carson Wentz.
Flacco and Wentz have similar backgrounds. Both are products of smaller schools – Flacco from Delaware, and Wentz from North Dakota St. Both are tall with powerful throwing arms – Flacco at 6-foot-6, and Wentz at 6-foot-5.
The Ravens have never regretted their decision to take Flacco with the 18th pick in 2008. Flacco is the only NFL quarterback to win at least one playoff game in each of his first five seasons. He became a starter as a rookie, he has been a Super Bowl MVP, and he has led the Ravens to the playoffs in six of his first eight seasons.
Wentz will be drafted either No. 1 by the Rams, or No. 2 by the Eagles, and he is arriving to the NFL accompanied by far more hype than Flacco. However, as more FCS players enjoy NFL success, it becomes easier for them to convince people they can make the transition.
“I think there is a greater awareness of the general public about some of these high-level FCS players,” NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said during a Friday conference call. “I think the NFL has always scouted them, but when you start talking about Joe Flacco winning a Super Bowl, Carson Wentz going No. 1 or 2 overall, that brings an awareness to the public.
During his press conference at the combine, Wentz said he had paid close attention to Flacco’s career.
“There’s a lot of talented guys at the FCS level that can play,” Wentz said. “Especially a guy like Flacco coming in really right away as a rookie and winning some ballgames. I think that shows that that adjustment can be made by special players for sure.”
Wentz hopes that one day he will have a Super Bowl experience like Flacco’s. The team that drafts Wentz will hope so as well.