Now that the Eagles have fast-forwarded the Carson Wentz era to immediately, let’s put a positive spin on the gamble the Birds have laid by placing their future on the Football Championship Subdivision quarterback from North Dakota State University.
The FCS, formerly I-AA, was created in 1978 and since then Wentz is just the fifth quarterback from the NCAA’s second level of football selected in the first-round of the NFL Draft.
Three of the four who preceded him won Super Bowls and the fourth started one.
Of course, that does not mean that Philadelphia should automatically start stocking up on midnight green and white confetti.
It does, however, debunk the belief that Wentz can’t be a championship quarterback at the NFL level because he played at the second tier of college football.
At No. 2 overall, Wentz is the highest FCS quarterback ever drafted. The Eagles traded two first-round picks, a second, a third and a fourth to acquire Wentz.
Here’s a look at how those other FCS quarterbacks did in their rookie seasons and when they got to the Super Bowl.
DOUG WILLIAMS was drafted 17th overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1978. Historically, Williams is more recognized as the first African-American quarterback to be selected in the first-round of the NFL draft. As a note, the Oakland Raiders drafted Tennessee State quarterback Eldridge Dickey in first round of the 1968 AFL draft but he was converted to wide receiver.
Williams was also the first FCS quarterback drafted in the first round.
Williams played in 10 games during his rookie season. He completed 73 of 194 passes for 1,170 yards with seven touchdowns and eight interceptions.
In his second season, Williams became the full-time starter and guided the Bucs to the NFC championship game.
Williams did not win the Super Bowl until his career in the NFL was winding down.
During the 1987 strike season, Williams started just two games for Washington – losing both. But he was the starter during the playoffs and led Washington to a 42-10 victory over Denver in Super Bowl XXII.
Williams was named MVP after completing 18 of 29 passes for 340 yards with four touchdowns.
PHIL SIMMS was a surprise and unpopular pick by the New York Giants at No. 7 overall in the 1979 draft. College football did not have saturated television coverage back then and few New Yorkers knew much about the quarterback from Morehead (Ky.) State University.
Simms turned boos to cheers as he won his first five starts as a rookie and posted a 6-4 record as a starter.
He suffered several injuries over the next few seasons and Simms quickly was out of grace with Giants fans, who wanted him out.
Simms made the 1985 Pro Bowl and was the 1986 NFL MVP. In Super Bowl XXI, he completed an astonishing 22 of 25 passes for 268 yards with three touchdowns and was MVP of the Giants' 39-20 victory over Denver.
Simms led New York to an 11-3 start in 1990 but broke his foot. He watched as Jeff Hostetler carried the Giants across the line for a win in Super Bowl XXV.
STEVE McNAIR became the highest FCS quarterback drafted before Wentz. The Houston Oilers picked him third overall in 1995 out of tiny Alcorn State University in Lorman, Miss.
Although he finished third in voting for the 1994 Heisman Trophy, McNair was placed in the “watch-and-learn” program with Houston. He played in just four games and threw 80 passes.
McNair did not become the franchise’s full-time starter until 1997 after it relocated to Nashville as the Tennessee Titans.
In 1999, McNair missed four games with injury but passed for 2,179 yards with 12 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. The Titans finished 13-3 and advanced to Super Bowl XXXIV but lost 23-16 to the St. Louis Rams.
McNair completed 22 of 36 passes for 214 yards.
JOE FLACCO was picked 18th overall by the Baltimore Ravens in 2008 out of the University of Delaware. This is the FCS quarterback Eagles fans hope Wentz will emulate.
Flacco won the job out of training camp and started all 16 games for Baltimore. He completed 257 of 428 passes for 2,971 yards with 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
He became the first NFL rookie to win two road playoff games and took the Ravens to the AFC championship game.
Flacco started 64 games his first four seasons, won 44 games and led the Ravens the playoffs four times.
In 2012, Flacco completed 317 of 531 passes for 3,817 yards with 22 touchdowns.