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Top Draft Prospect Carson Wentz Confident He Can Be a Franchise QB

INDIANAPOLIS -- The buzz surrounding Carson Wentz skyrocketed at the Senior Bowl in January and has still yet to crescendo. Now the 6-foot-5 quarterback is half of the biggest storyline at this week's NFL Scouting Combine.

Who is the top signal-caller in this year's draft class, Wentz or Cal's Jared Goff?

The North Dakota State product wouldn't claim he deserves that title, but he pointed to his time in Mobile, Ala., as evidence that he's capable of being a successful NFL quarterback.

View select images of scouts, coaches and players from the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine.

"I think for me it was kind of what I expected, going in to show what I'm capable of," Wentz said. "But I think to a lot of people it showed I can handle that game speed. Obviously there's still going to be a big jump going forward, but that was probably the big question everyone wants to know.

"Can he adjust? He was playing FCS ball. All these guys are FBS guys. I think I went in there and proved that I could handle it."

Wentz might come from an FCS program, but the quarterback couldn't have done more during his time at North Dakota State. The potential top-5 pick won a national championship all four years, two of which as the Bisons starter. Despite missing time in 2015 due to a broken wrist, the quarterback still threw for 1,651 yards and 17 touchdowns, compared to just four interceptions.

That's part of the first-round pedigree that Wentz will pitch to NFL teams, possibly including the San Francisco 49ers, in Indianapolis.

"When I think of a franchise quarterback, not only do I think of the physical ability, but I think of being a winner, winning ball games, taking command and being a leader." said Wentz, who has been mocked to the 49ers at No. 7 by a few draft analysts. "All those things come to mind."

Unlike many of his collegiate peers, Wentz comes from a pro-style offense at North Dakota State and has experience running a huddle and taking snaps under center. The quarterback is used to being his team's field general.

"I was in charge of a lot at the line of scrimmage, changing plays, run checks, all sorts of fun stuff with that," Wentz said.

The biggest hurdle for Wentz will be his adjustment to the speed of the professional game and the size of the playbook. Wentz said he's been watching NFL game film and working diligently on his footwork to prepare himself to the best of his ability.

There is no question in the quarterback's mind that he'll be able to make the jump to professional football. He also wouldn't be the first small-school quarterback to find immediate success in the NFL.

Baltimore Ravens quarterback and Delaware alum Joe Flacco is the first name that comes to mind in that regard.

Wentz reiterated his confidence in becoming the face of a franchise and is ready for the lofty expectations that come with being a first-round selection.

"You got to go in there and prove yourself," Wentz explained. "You got to earn your respect. No matter if you go into a situation with a Hall of Famer in front of you, or a situation with nobody in front of you and it's supposedly given to you. I don't think that's true.

"You got to earn every bit of it. That's how I'm going handle that situation. Whatever exact situation comes."

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