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Senior Bowl Practice Report: Day 2

Posted Jan 27, 2016

Team insider Myles Simmons takes a closer look at quarterback Carson Wentz for the second day of practice in Mobile.

MOBILE, Ala. -- If there’s one position in football that gets more attention than any other it’s quarterback. As the saying goes, the NFL is a QB-driven league, which is part of the reason why Carson Wentz has been the talk of the Senior Bowl this week.

Wentz starred at North Dakota State, building up enough of a reputation to become a potential high-round draft pick -- if not the first round itself. Over the last two years, Wentz helped lead NDSU to two National Championships. Though he sustained a broken wrist in the sixth game of the 2015 season, he was able to return for the title game to beat Jacksonville State.

In his two years as a starter (25 games), Wentz completed 63 percent of his passes for 4,762 yards at 8.4 yards per attempt. He threw 42 touchdowns to just 14 interceptions in that time, and also put up 936 yards rushing -- showing he can make plays with his legs.

Given all those numbers, Wentz has the stats to justify the attention he’s received. He also has the so-called “measureables,” checking in at 6-foot-5 and 233 pounds with 10-inch hands on Tuesday -- clearly the size and stature of a professional quarterback. But how much does coming from an FCS school affect how teams see him?

“I think there’s obviously a lot of doubt coming from the FCS level and I just want to address that right away, prove that I can play at a high level, play at a fast level, compete with these guys and really excel,” Wentz said at his press conference on Tuesday. “I have the mental and physical abilities to play at this level and I’m really excited to prove it.”

One factor that could aid Wentz is NDSU’s strong reputation. The quarterback may have played in the last two national titles, but there’s a long history of winning football within the program. The Bison have now won the last five FCS national titles dating back to 2011, and have 13 total from their eight Division-II championships.

“A lot of people kind of compare us to Alabama of the FCS,” Wentz said. “Our conferences are really tough and say we’re like the SEC of the FCS so a lot of comparison based on the winning culture and the tradition that we have.”

Observing Wentz over the last two days of practice, it’s fairly apparent why the hype train has gotten going over the signal-caller. He looks fluid in his movements, whether it’s going through a straight drop back to pass, going through play-action, or taking a snap in the shotgun. He can make throws from the pocket to the sideline, and can even make strong, accurate passes on the run.

But for a quarterback, it’s about consistency. Perfect prospects are rare, and Wentz is not flawless as he’s missed a couple throws throughout the course of the week. Still, his appeal is clear, as he does appear a cut above the competition at the Senior Bowl.

PRESCOTT MAKES HIS MARK

While Wentz is getting the most attention, there are seven other quarterbacks in attendance here in Mobile. One such QB is Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott.

While he isn’t necessarily thought of in that top echelon of signal-callers in this year’s class, Prescott holds numerous passing records at Mississippi State and has spun the ball well through two days of practice at the Senior Bowl.

Our Dani Klupenger caught up with Prescott after Wednesday’s practice, which you can watch right here on the site.

TIDE KEEPS ROLLING

As you likely know, Alabama won its fourth national title under Nick Saban a couple weeks ago. Now the Crimson Tide has five of its own in the Senior Bowl, including linebacker Reggie Ragland.

The unanimous first-team All-American and SEC Defensive Player of the Year spent much of his time at Alabama as the team’s middle linebacker, but has been spending time on the outside this week.

“I want to show that I can do everything,” Ragland said. “If they need me to go outside for a couple series I can do that. And if they want me to go inside I can do that. I want to show everyone I can do it all.”

Our Austin Lankford has a full report on Ragland and his journey to the NFL that you can read here.