At 6-5 and 233 pounds, Carson Wentz looks like the part of an NFL quarterback. With a 4.0 GPA at North Dakota State, the draft prospect has the intelligence too.
Through the draft process, NFL coaches and personnel will evaluate and meet with Wentz to determine if he has what it takes to be an pro quarterback. NDSU head coach Chris Klieman, who has known the young quarterback for five years, has seen first-hand what Wentz has shown both on and off the field.
"First, he carries himself extremely well," Klieman said in an interview with Texans Radio. "He's an extremely confident guy without being arrogant or egotistical. He's just got a great presence about him and confidence. He'll command a room. He'll be a tremendous leader."
Wentz knows that success as a quarterback comes from polished mechanics. At the Reese's Senior Bowl last week, he said he hopes to improve his footwork. According to Klieman, Wentz will impress some teams with that as well.
"I think from a physical attribute, what people are just going to be amazed at is how athletic he is, how well he moves his feet, and how well his mechanics are," Klieman said. "He knows he has some things he has to work on, but he will be a real seasoned guy right away."
Klieman led the Bison to a 15-1 record in in 2014, his first season as head coach. It was also the Wentz's first year as a starter. In 2011, Klieman was the defensive backs coach before serving as defensive coordinator for 2012 and 2013. Being on the defensive side of the ball, he saw first-hand the potential that Wentz had, even with an NDSU defense that led the nation in scoring from 2011-2013.
"My best recollection of him is that he was our scout team quarterback in 2011, my first year here," Klieman said. "We won the national championship and had a really good defense, one of the top two total defenses in the country and, at the end of the year, I was asked, who was the best quarterback we faced all year and I said our redshirt freshman, Carson Wentz."
As a scout team quarterback facing a top defense, Wentz scrambled his way out of sacks, was hard to tackle, and completed nearly every pass in practice, Klieman recalled.
"The stage was not going to be too big for this guy and once he had an opportunity to excel, he was going to be able to do that," Klieman said.
Check out some snapshots from Day 1 of Senior Bowl practice in Fairhope and Mobile, Alabama. Images courtesy of AP.