With the Scouting combine coming up this week, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. conducted a conference call Monday to discuss prospects. Naturally, quarterbacks were a big focus. And one of the most interesting names, still, is North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz — a player that Kiper now has going No. 2 overall (yes, you read that right) to the Browns in his latest mock draft.
Wentz drew strong reviews recently at the Senior Bowl. He has prototypical QB size (6-foot-5) and led the Bison to the last two of their five consecutive FCS titles.
The competition to be the No. 1 QB chosen could very well come down to Wentz vs. Jared Goff of Cal (currently going No. 4 to Dallas in Kiper’s mock draft).
“I think it’s a flip of a coin right now between those two quarterbacks,” Kiper said Monday. “Some like Goff. Some like Wentz. I just went with the bigger quarterback in Wentz at No. 2.”
Even being part of that conversation and potentially being a top-five pick is a pretty big deal.
As for the Vikings, Kiper has them taking offensive lineman Cody Whitehair out of Kansas State at No. 23. Whitehair played tackle in college but could be a guard or tackle in the NFL. I asked Kiper about Whitehair and how much he factored in offensive line being a massive position of need for the Vikings in his projection. Here’s what Kiper said:
“I thought about a wide receiver, so I thought about Josh Doctson on the board, and I have him going one pick later to Cincinnati. I thought Whitehair is a guy who has played tackle, guard and center. He’s a guard or center in the NFL, and he’s an immediate hole-filler. He’s a heck of a player. You could go linebacker, and I get that, so I thought about maybe Darron Lee from Ohio State at that particular point. Wide receiver, if (Laquon) Treadwell dropped down that far, I think it would be a no-brainer, but I don’t think he will unless he runs a very subpar 40 time. … I’ll say this: I wouldn’t be surprised to see Whitehair come in and be a guy who immediately starts and plays at a high level and at the end of the year is one of the best rookies in the league. I think Whitehair is a heck of an offensive lineman with tremendous versatility, and he’s ready to play in the NFL right now.”
That said, the draft is still two months away. We are many mocks away from the real thing.