Commanders

Reviewing Wentz's success in Philly and Indy with bigger targets

Commanders

When talking to the local media about his re-signing with the Commanders, the 6-foot-5 Cam Sims pointed out why he thinks he and new quarterback Carson Wentz will get along just fine.

"He likes big receivers," Sims said Wednesday.

In looking at Wentz's time with the Eagles and then the Colts, Sims' statement sure seems to check out.

Though Wentz has established solid connections with shorter running backs and some standard-sized wideouts at his past stops, it's the bigger-bodied tight ends and outside pass catchers with whom he really produces.

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In his rookie year with Philadelphia in 2016, Zach Ertz (at 6-foot-5) and Jordan Mathews (at 6-foot-3) caught 78 and 73 passes from Wentz to lead the way for that offense. The diminutive Darren Sproles was third on the team in receptions while the 6-foot Nelson Agholor chipped in as well, but Ertz and Mathews were undoubtedly Wentz's go-to guys.

 

In 2017, which was Wentz's peak as an NFL passer (before an ACL tear took him out in Week 14), Ertz was once again the Eagles' top target, as he hauled in another 74 balls. Agholor was second in the pecking order in terms of catches, but the 6-foot-3 Alshon Jeffery outdid Agholor when it came to yards and paced the squad in touchdowns.

A back injury limited Wentz to just 11 starts in 2018, but he was able to start all 16 contests in 2019, where this trend continued. The ever-reliable Ertz compiled 88 grabs while his fellow tight end, the 6-foot-5 Dallas Goedert, notched 58 of his own. 

And, not surprisingly, when Wentz was traded to the Colts, it was the 6-foot-4 Michael Pittman Jr. that he relied on the most. Pittman Jr. finished 2021 with 88 receptions for 1,082 yards and six touchdowns, representing the best overall campaign that any of Wentz's skill players has had to this point.

None of this is to suggest that Terry McLaurin, who's listed at 6-foot-nothing, is doomed in 2022. Wentz once told McLaurin after a Philadelphia-Washington matchup that he'd love to pair up with him one day, and now that that's happening, expect Wentz to get tons of usage out of the Commanders' fourth-year star.

The numbers do, however, mean that especially good things could lie ahead for options like Logan Thomas (who's 6-foot-6) and the aforementioned Sims, who's one inch shorter than Thomas.

Thomas certainly has ability like Ertz and Goedert, and if he can recover from his torn ACL, the potential for him to shine in 2022 is undoubtedly there. As for Sims, he's proven capable of standout sequences every so often, but perhaps Wentz can get more consistent performances out of him.

Then there's the NFL Draft, where Washington would benefit from adding another offensive contributor. So, who fits the mold of what Wentz appears to prefer?

At receiver, there's Drake London of USC (6-foot-4), Christian Watson of Wentz's alma mater, North Dakota State (6-foot-4) and George Pickens of Georgia (6-foot-3), all of whom can be had at various stages of the event. As for tight end, numerous prospects there possess the size to succeed alongside Wentz in Washington.

Wentz's future in the sport largely hinges on what he can do with the Commanders in 2022. Judging by his career thus far, he'll be turning to the team's larger players in order to make the most of his opportunity.