Over the last four weeks we have been counting down the 20 most important Eagles for the 2020 season.
20. Nate Sudfeld
19. Avonte Maddox
18. Nathan Gerry
17. Dallas Goedert
16. Derek Barnett
15. Jalen Reagor
14. Jalen Mills
13. Brandon Brooks
12. Rodney McLeod
11. Javon Hargrave
10. Miles Sanders
9. Andre Dillard
8. Brandon Graham
7. Zach Ertz
6. DeSean Jackson
5. Lane Johnson
4. Darius Slay
3. Jason Kelce
2. Fletcher Cox
1. Carson Wentz
We have finally reached the end of our countdown and we finish off with the franchise quarterback.
Carson Wentz is coming off the first 4,000-yard passing season in Eagles history and he put the team on his back to win the final four games of 2019 to get into the playoffs. But then in the playoff game, he lasted just a handful snaps in his first playoff game before getting knocked out.
I understand why some people would look at this list and say Wentz shouldn’t be No. 1. After all, look what Nick Foles did in 2017 and 2018, winning a total of four playoff games in that span. But Foles isn’t here anymore and that 2017 squad was simply a team of destiny.
The Eagles desperately need Wentz to stay healthy in 2020.
No, Wentz hasn’t gotten back to his near-MVP performance level in 2017 but what he did last season was still pretty impressive. Check out his first four seasons in the NFL:
2016: 16 games, 62.4%, 3,782 yards, 16 TDs, 14 INTs, 79.3 rating
2017: 13 games, 60.2%, 3,296 yards, 33 TDs, 7 INTs, 101.9 rating
2018: 11 games, 69.6%, 3,074 yards, 21 TDs, 7 INTs, 102.2 rating
2019: 16 games, 63.9%, 4,039 yards, 27 TDs, 7 INTs, 93.1 rating
Wentz is very good. And with some new weapons around him in 2020, he should be even better. Remember, by the end of the 2019 season, he was throwing to a bunch of guys who began the season on the practice squad. According to ProFootballFocus, Wentz had 32 of his passes dropped last season, the third-highest total in the league.
There are still plenty of questions about his receivers and he’ll have at least two new starters on the offensive line. But the overall offense around Wentz in 2020 should be better.
And even if it isn’t, Wentz proved last season that he has the ability to put the team on his back and lead them to victory. He led the Eagles on four game-winning drives in 2019; he had four in his first three seasons.
Earlier this offseason, I put together my ranking of the 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL and put Wentz at No. 7:
1. Patrick Mahomes
2. Russell Wilson
3. Lamar Jackson
4. Drew Brees
5. Aaron Rodgers
6. Deshaun Watson
7. Carson Wentz
I put Wentz at seventh because he can do things on a football field few other men in the world can do. Put him in the category with Mahomes, Rodgers, Jackson and Watson in terms of his ability to use his legs and arm. No, Wentz isn’t like Jackson, who will pick up tons of yards on the ground. But Wentz is tough to bring down and is at his best when he’s able to move out of the pocket and throw on the move.
With that in mind, the addition of Rich Scangarello to the Eagles’ coaching staff could end up doing wonders for Wentz’s career. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons the Eagles hired Scangarello after he was fired as the Broncos’ offensive coordinator.
Wentz is entering Year 5 of his NFL career in 2020. He has already gotten his huge contract and has been a very good player. If he gets back to playing at an MVP level and is able to stay on the field, this Eagles team could go far.
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