This was the first day the “glamor guys” got to shine at the 2016 NFL meat market in Indianapolis, running the gauntlet, so to speak, for the powers that be from various teams. And for those who have absolutely no say about their fate. The fifth estate, which doesn’t rank nearly that high on the pecking order when it comes to picking the next franchise quarterback.
Be that as it may, college football’s finest signal callers (at least the one’s getting most of the ink and air time) were paraded before, and subjected to, people who will speculate which team they should play for and then use a microscope to dissect the rest of their NFL careers. For the 1,200 assembled arm chair quarterbacks, it was the first real chance to peer into the psyche (if not the souls) of these men who would be gridiron kings.
Wentz, Goff, Jones and Cook. Sounds like a law firm, but in pigskin parlance, they’re far more powerful and influential. Along with long, tall Paxton Lynch, who did not make his NFL media debut on Thursday, they are this spring’s gold standard for the most important position in football, and perhaps all team sports.
Carson Wentz is the rising star…a new name few had heard of up until the new year. Those who make their living assessing talented athletes have fallen for this tall, sturdy, dashing lad from North Dakota. On Thursday, the media got an inkling of what makes this kid, who came out of nowhere, so appealing. He was just as impressive in front of the media as he was on the field at the Senior Bowl. Make no mistake, Wentz is a good, old, country boy, and he’s just fine with that. But he’s no country bumpkin. The big Bison wowed the media crowd in Lucas Oil Stadium. Answers to questions were forthright, down to earth, honest and thoughtful. He was authoritative without being overbearing or arrogant. He looked everybody in the eye and smiled. Wentz clearly has no shortage of confidence and this observer came away feeling he’d just seen a guy who could come in and lead a football team pretty darn quick.
There’s no consensus as to which quarterback will be the chosen one -- the one taken first in April’s draft. Just as many experts say it could and should be Cal’s Jared Goff. Athletically, it’s a toss up. But while Wentz is an easy going extrovert, Goff came off differently. He’s definitely a California kid and has that "Cali coolness" going for him. At times he displayed a wry sense of humor, but for the most part, Goff was much more reserved. Despite professing enough
confidence to state any team that takes him would immediately improve, the message didn’t come across as convincingly. Goff spoke in a low, monotone voice and made little eye contact with his interrogators. Am I reading too much into that? Probably. I could be wrong.
But if this was nothing more than a personality contest…
Which leads me to Ohio State’s Cardale Jones, who should have turned pro last year, according to NBC’S Mike Florio. Jones wouldn’t argue with that. Displaying a combination of good humor and a strong belief in his own abilities, the man who led the Buckeyes to a National Championship a year ago admitted he made personal sacrifices for Ohio State in 2015. He was quick to add he didn’t regret it because of the team’s success. While not projected to go nearly as high as the other “glamor guys,” you came away from listening to Jones thinking some team’s going to get a steal when they select the imposing quarterback from Cleveland. When it came to sparring with the media, Jones was almost as cool and comfortable as he was during his remarkable run to the title.
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