(Phils Simms photo courtesy of the New York Giants)
Talk of Fame Network
The last time a quarterback made a Carson Wentz-like jump in competition from college to the pros was the 1979 draft when the New York Giants chose Morehead State's Phil Simms with their first choice, the seventh overall pick.
So the obvious question is: What’s it going to be like for Wentz to make that leap?
Well, we didn't have to go far to find out. We went straight to the source on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast and asked Phil Simms, now an analyst with CBS. Specifically, we asked what advice he’d give Wentz, the second overall pick and the first choice of the Philadelphia Eagles.
“I don’t know if I can give him any,” Simms said, “except maybe to just keep throwing it; keep being who you are. First off, I think we overestimate the jump. In other words, when you’ve got physical talent, and you throw a 95 mile-an-hour fast ball in the minor leagues, you’re going to throw it in the majors. Oh, you might have to throw it to a different part of the plate, but you still got that talent. But now you just got to learn to adjust to maybe a little different set of rules, and you will get it done.
“I think the adjustment, physically for him, I don’t see it being any problem at all. And North Dakota State? Let’s not kid ourselves. That’s not another division or a lower division of football, the way everybody looks at it. They could be in the MAC. They’re a mid-major. They can beat most teams. …
“I just looked at him, and I know he’s big, strong, got a good arm, he’s really mobile (and), apparently, he’s a straight A student. There’s a lot that you can put on the board and say, ‘We know these things for sure.’ I look at him as a very safe pick at the quarterback position, and I think he will do well in the NFL.”
When Simms was taken by the Giants, he went from a program that was 2-6-1 his senior year and a market where a handful of reporters spoke to him … annually … to a team in the country’s largest city and biggest media market.
“When I got drafted,” said Simms, “it was a whole different era, and I came out of nowhere of course. At least we knew about Carson Wentz, and we saw him mentioned on ESPN with all of their draft stuff, starting last summer. But I’ll never forget my first press conference. I looked out there and went, ‘Wow.’ I truly saw more reporters at my first press conference than I saw in all my four years at Morehead State starting. I mean, there were many, many games I played in where I was never talked to by one reporter.
“But the greatest thing about going from a small division, or at least for me, to the pros … wow … is the fans. You get to play in front of big groups of people. At Morehead State it was 5,000 people maybe. I loved going away and playing away games because we were always the homecoming opponent. So, we’d have a big crowd, and it was like, ‘Hey, I don’t care; we’ve got a big crowd. It’s good stuff.’ ”