Carson Wentz will officially become the first rookie QB to start a season opener in Eagles franchise history.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) September 5, 2016
The 2016 NFL draft began with the Tennessee Titans holding the No. 1 overall pick, and the Browns sitting at No. 2 overall. Cleveland scouted both Wentz and Jared Goff extensively, but they were only really enamored with Goff. When the Los Angeles Rams moved in front of Cleveland, the Browns sought a trade partner, and the Eagles obliged. The Browns acquired the Eagles’ 1st round pick in 2017 and 2nd round pick in 2018 in the process.
Not that it will play a major factor, but you can see why Wentz would take it as a slight that Cleveland thought Goff, not Wentz, was worthy of a top pick. Wentz leaping to the starting lineup is a move that was completely unexpected as of a week ago, though. Sam Bradford was entrenched as the team’s starting quarterback, Chase Daniel was the highest-paid backup in the league, and Wentz had only played in one preseason game due to injury. Heck, back in mid-July, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said that Wentz would probably be inactive for Week 1.
In Wentz' only action of the preseason, he completed 12-of-24 passes for 89 yards and 1 interception against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He suffered a hairline fracture in his ribs, forcing him to miss the final three preseason games.
Wentz will have the fact that he’s at home, and going against what looks to be a very bad Browns defense, in his favor. However, the Browns should look at it from the same perspective: they should have a chip on their shoulder from all the negative press they’ve received, so how can they let a guy who has had virtually no work with the first-team offense all camp beat them? In another twist, this game features two quarterbacks who were the No. 2 overall picks of the draft — Robert Griffin III in 2012 (when he was with the Redskins) and Wentz.
This paves the way for Cleveland to steal the first game of the season, but also sets them up for an embarrassing look defensively. Which storyline will come to fruition by the end of the game? I think we’ll be licking our chops after a Joe Haden pick six.