Two years ago, Carson Wentz came in at No. 3 on NFL Network’s list of the top 100 players in the league.
All he’s done since then is throw 48 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, complete 66 percent of his passes and fashion a 96.7 passer rating.
And drop out of the top 100.
It’s stupid, of course. We all understand Wentz should be in the top 100. He’s a really good player. But instead of complaining about it, let’s consider what it means.
Because it didn’t just happen. Nobody was out to get Carson. His fall out of the top-100 may be ridiculous, but it happened for a very real reason and represents a very real national perspective.
When he got hurt in L.A. late in the 2017 season, Wentz was 24 years old and the best young quarterback in football. Pat Mahomes and Deshaun Watson were rookies and Lamar Jackson was still at Louisville.
Now Wentz is 27 and going into Year 5, and he’s just as talented as ever. His numbers considering his lack of receivers are crazy. That 96.7 passer rating throwing to Nelly, Mack Hollins and Alshon is 9th-highest in the NFL over the last two years. Yet he’s dropped from No. 3 entirely off the list.
It's all about perception.
Carson is no longer seen as this hot young quarterback taking the league by storm. He’s now perceived as injury prone and incapable of carrying a football team from opening day through a deep playoff run.
It’s amazing how perception can change so quickly, but that’s what happens. This year’s Next Biggest Thing is next year’s Washed-Up Has-Been.
The reality for Wentz is somewhere in between. When he’s been healthy, he’s been really good. But he’s going into Year 5 and the sum total of his postseason career is a 3-yard completion to Boston Scott.
So it’s really hard to fairly rank Wentz because he’s 27 and hasn’t won a playoff game. Hasn’t even finished one.
And this is a fickle business.
Kyler Murray had a nice rookie year and I think he’s going to be really good, but he has no business being ranked ahead of Wentz. Josh Allen did some exciting things last year, but he has no business being ranked ahead of Wentz.
But people look at those guys now the same way they looked at Wentz two years ago. Young, exciting, improving, full of potential. Part of a new wave of NFL quarterbacks.
And when you look at the big picture, there’s a sense that young QBs are leaving Wentz by the wayside.
Mahomes and Watson are three years younger than Wentz. Jackson is four years younger.
They’re now the hot young QBs. Now they're the future.
That’s just natural. Maybe it’s not fair that while you’re out there throwing 48 TDs and 14 INTs your reputation takes a hit, but that’s life.
I liked Carson’s answer when I asked him last week about not being in the top 100.
“You can always use anything and everything as just a little bit of extra motivation,” he said. “I'm not going to let that cause me to lose any sleep or anything, but I do look forward to going out this year and showing what I can do.”
I’m glad he’s pissed. Or as close to pissed as Carson gets. I want angry Carson.
Because you can hang your head and feel bad about being snubbed by somebody’s list or you can shrug it off and go do something about it and win some games and get to the playoffs and prove you really are one of the 100 best players in the league or maybe one of the 10 best.
In the end, only Carson truly controls how he's perceived. In the end, Carson's vote is the only one that counts.
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