OCT 14







Are Carson Wentz and Trevor Siemian the surprise packages of the season far?

Posted Sep 27, 2016

Carson Wentz has been a joy to watch in the opening three weeks of the season, whether you are a Philadelphia fan or not.

The Eagles had no hesitation in snapping up the young quarterback five months ago at the Draft in Chicago, after the Los Angeles Rams passed up the opportunity with the first overall pick.

Rams fans may be wondering this morning why on earth their team took Jared Goff instead, considering that Goff has not thrown an NFL pass in anger yet but they know his time will come and that he has long-term potential.

The time, money and sleepless nights spent by those teams who own the first few picks in the Draft wrestling with their demons over which player is worth such a valuable commodity are seemingly endless. And yet, as we have seen in many a Draft, all that effort sometimes goes to waste because a pick in the top five turns out to be far less than all that research suggested.

The Draft is not an exact science and, of course, the most famous example of that came 16 years ago when, far from sitting in the green room at Madison Square Garden wearing a smile and a shiny suit, Tom Brady had to wait until the sixth round when the New England Patriots selected him with the 199th pick.

Brady is in his 17th season with the Patriots. The six players New England picked before him that year – Adrian Klemm, JR Redmond, Greg Robinson-Randall, Dave Stachelski, Jeff Marriott and Antwan Harris - played a combined 16 seasons for the club.

There is the early promise that we may have another such prospect in our midst in the NFL when you consider how the Denver Broncos have started the season in defence of the Super Bowl crown they won in San Francisco.

Is it really just eight months ago that their starting quarterback was Peyton Manning and that his back-up as they triumphed over the Carolina Panthers was Brock Osweiler? Even stranger perhaps is the thought that it was just November last year that Manning was benched in favour of Osweiler after Manning threw four interceptions against Kansas City.

With Manning retired and Osweiler having signed for Houston four weeks after the Super Bowl win, Denver fans were rightly nervous about their prospects in the 2016 season but having got off to a flier with three wins out of three under the stewardship of Trevor Siemian, they are probably feeling a little more assured.

If Siemian continues in the manner he has begun his NFL career, the 24-year-old from Connecticut could be the successor to Brady when it comes to greatest Draft pick ever. In three games he has completed 63 of 94 passes for 756 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions. That puts him on course for a regular season record of 336-of-501 for 4032 yards, 27TDs and 16 interceptions, all numbers he would gladly put his name to. On Sunday against Cincinnati, he had his best day yet, completing 23-of-35 for 312 yards, four touchdowns, no interceptions.

The reason this looks rather impressive is because – just like Brady 16 years ago – every team in the NFL, including Denver, passed up the chance to select Siemian in the 2015 Draft. And they all did it multiple times. With the seventh round finished, Siemian must have thought his chance had gone but the Broncos had three supplementary picks at the end of that Draft and they used the first one to call his name. He was the 250th player selected in 2015.

We are almost conditioned to think that any player taken that low in the Draft is not going to make it or if he does it will be as a back-up at whatever position, probably someone who tries to make a name for himself on special teams. The last thing on most people’s minds would be that the soon-to-be Super Bowl champions had just selected a future starting quarterback, especially as he was rated as the 22nd best quarterback going into that Draft.

In fact, even Siemian wasn’t all that convinced because he had already lined up a job in commercial real estate, figuring that in all likelihood he would not be drafted.

Usually when a case like this comes round, some people will claim that they knew all along that he was going to be a big hit while others will say ‘oh yeah, I don’t remember you saying that at the time’. Are we to believe that Bill Belichick really thought he was getting perhaps the greatest QB of all time when he took Brady 199 picks into the 2000 Draft? And are we to believe that Broncos general manager John Elway, a Hall of Fame quarterback himself, actually believed Siemian was going to be a star? If so, why wait so long to pick him, living in fear that you may lose him to another team?

Whatever the ins and outs, Elway can at least lay claim to having an eye for talent because of a tweet he posted just after drafting Siemian. He wrote it on May 2, 2015 and it read: “7th rd pick Trevor Siemian had a productive career as a quarterback at Northwestern. He has raw talent and we think he will develop nicely.”

Elway was given a lot of credit about the way he rebuilt the Broncos roster after the loss in Super Bowl XLVIII and rebounded two years later to win the Lombardi Trophy. He was ruthless in the way he dumped some players and went after others. It may have been bloody but it worked.

Now, he may have pulled another rabbit out of his hat by landing a starting QB 250 picks into the Draft. And if he has, Denver fans are going to believe that John Elway can walk on water. As if they didn’t believe that already.

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