If you haven’t heard of Carson Wentz, you will soon.
The little-known quarterback out of North Dakota State might just be the first overall pick in this year’s draft.
It’s a long road from here to bear-hugging Roger Goodell at the NFL Draft, but Wentz took his first steps Monday. He was front and center at the Senior Bowl, one of three marquee players trotted out by organizers ahead of this week’s all-star showcase.
His dance card has been full since the moment he arrived. Wentz said he has already met with representatives from roughly half the league — including, intriguingly, the Miami Dolphins.
Wentz is a quick study. He already has the swagger of a franchise quarterback.
“Absolutely,” Wentz said when asked if he wants to be the first quarterback taken in the draft. “I don’t know any quarterback who doesn’t want to be the top guy.”
He’s certainly the top guy in town this week, as the 67th Senior Bowl gets under way.
Phil Savage, the former general manager of the Cleveland Browns who is now the Senior Bowl’s executive director, said Wentz “is probably going to be the most-watched player [this week]. We hope he’s going to be the face of the franchise.”
Wentz checks all the boxes. He’s 6-6 and 235 pounds. He has a rifle for an arm. And he led the Bisons to Football Championship Subdivision national titles in each of his two years as a starter. (NDSU has won the FCS championship five straight years.)
So it’s little wonder everybody — including the Dolphins — wants a piece of him this week, even if the introductory meeting was simple due diligence.
Wentz would be great value for Miami if somehow he slid to the second round. Although the organization has repeatedly said Ryan Tannehill is the guy (at least for 2016), the Dolphins want competition at all positions, quarterback included.
But would they consider taking Wentz at eighth overall? Unlikely.
The Dolphins have needs all over the field, particularly on defense.
A more logical fit would be someone such as Alabama’s Reggie Ragland, particularly if the Dolphins trade back in the first round.
Ragland played inside linebacker for the Crimson Tide but is trying to make the switch to the outside; the Dolphins could use him at either position.
“I know I can do a lot on the football field,” said Ragland, a pure athlete who hit 400-foot home runs as an eighth-grader. “I love the contact.”
Noticeably absent from this year’s Senior Bowl? Any representatives from the three South Florida FBS schools. Miami, FIU and FAU were all shut out.
The only Hurricane sure to be drafted in three months is Artie Burns, a junior cornerback who will likely go at some point in Day 2.
But as an underclassman, Burns obviously isn’t eligible for the Senior Bowl. The lone UM player who could make a reasonable argument for being here is safety Deon Bush, who will be taken late in the draft, if at all.