PHILADELPHIA (AP) – From Fargo to Philly, Carson Wentz is the latest quarterback the Eagles hope will deliver the franchise’s first Super Bowl.
The Eagles selected the North Dakota State quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL draft on Thursday night after trading up twice to get the pick from Cleveland.
“It’s exciting a team believes in me that much to go up and get me,” Wentz said.
A potential franchise quarterback was Philadelphia’s goal when it moved from No. 13 to No. 8 to No. 2 to get in position to select Jared Goff or Wentz despite signing Sam Bradford to a $36 million, two-year contract in March.
“One player can change your team,” said Howie Roseman, the team’s executive vice president of football operations. “We know how important that position is.”
The 6-foot-5 Wentz led the Bison to their fifth consecutive FCS title last season. He passed for 1,651 yards and 17 touchdowns during his senior year that was shortened by a wrist injury. Wentz only started his final two seasons and didn’t face big-time competition.
“I don’t concern myself with competition,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. “He’s a perfect fit for what we’re going to do.”
Pederson compared Wentz to Hall of Famer Brett Favre, specifically his “aggression” and “ability to throw the ball down the field.” Wentz said Favre was his favorite player to watch.
Bradford did not report for voluntary workouts this week and agent Tom Condon has requested a trade. Bradford’s contract includes $22 million guaranteed. The Eagles also signed Chase Daniel to a $21 million, three-year deal to be the backup. Daniel’s deal includes $12 million guaranteed.
If Philadelphia trades Bradford, another team would only pay him $7 million this season. The Eagles would incur an $11 million salary-cap hit for Bradford’s signing bonus.
“Sam’s our quarterback. I’ve been clear about that,” Roseman said. “Whenever he comes back, we’ll welcome him with open arms.”
Wentz is the first quarterback from North Dakota State selected in the draft. He’s the fifth quarterback chosen by the Eagles in the first round and first since 1999, when Andy Reid took Donovan McNabb at No. 2 overall. McNabb led Philadelphia to five NFC championship games and one Super Bowl appearance.
Getting there won’t be good enough for Wentz. The Eagles haven’t won an NFL title since 1960 and their fans are starved for a championship.
“They’re passionate, they want to win and I’m the same way,” Wentz said.
The Eagles paid a steep price for Wentz, giving Cleveland the eighth overall pick, a third-round pick (No. 77), a fourth-rounder (No. 100), plus a first-rounder in 2017 and a second-rounder in 2018 for the second pick and a fourth-rounder in 2017. They moved up to eighth by trading the 13th pick, cornerback Byron Maxwell and linebacker Kiko Alonso to Miami.
Barring a trade or injury, Wentz isn’t even expected to dress for a game in the regular season.
“This isn’t for the moment,” Roseman said. “It’s what’s best for the long-term for this franchise.”