“Do you hear those people screaming?”
That’s how the call started with Carson Wentz. He was in Philadelphia for the NFL draft, and the PR person calling to connect wanted to make sure I could hear him.
It might as well have been the theme of the draft. Philly fans crushed it, booing lustily, giving us moment after moment of viral-quality crowd reactions. And their quarterback (deep Terrell Owens voice) was there as the de facto host.
Working with Courtyard by Marriott, the official hotel of the NFL, Wentz met with fans, took pictures, and did the proverbial baby kissing during the draft. There were no reports of battery throwing or snowballs.
Wentz has staved off such a fate (at least for now) after he shined for the first month as a rookie, then struggled as defenses adjusted and his offensive skill players either got hurt or forgot how to play football. Coming into Year 2, expectations are high for Wentz, not just because they added Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith, but because the Eagles gave up a ton to draft him.
A year later, Wentz sounds much like he did his own draft weekend: poised, congenial, and polished. If he can translate those traits onto the field this season for the Eagles, Philly fans will have many more reasons to cheer than boo.
It has to be surreal for this weekend, with the draft in Philly a year after the Eagles traded up to get you.