Carson Wentz

A month ago, Carson Wentz appeared destined for a season of study. Drafted No. 2 overall by the Philadelphia Eagles, it seemed sure that Wentz would spend most of his rookie season behind then-starting quarterback Sam Bradford.

But Wentz catapulted into the starting spot when the Eagles sent Bradford to Minnesota, which was desperately seeking a replacement for the injured Teddy Bridgewater. The quick change begged the question – can Wentz perform? Two games are hardly enough to get a definitive answer, but Wentz threw for 278 yards and two touchdowns in a season-opening victory against Cleveland and then went 21-of-34 for 190 yards and a touchdown in a win Monday night in Chicago. He didn't have an interception in either game.

These performances were all the more stunning, as recent history tells us that the No. 2 pick is no sure thing. In fact, in the 48 years since the AFL-NFL merger, only five No. 2 picks have made it to the Hall of Fame – as compared to seven in the previous 39 years. Offensive tackle Tony Boselli (Jacksonville, 1995) and Donovan McNabb (Philadelphia, 1999) are Canton nominees for 2017.

Robert Griffin III

But given the level of research and the amount a team must pay its No. 2 selection, the spot is something of a bust.

Consider Robert Griffin III (2012) or Jason Smith (2009) as recent examples.

Before the merger, such superstars as 49ers quarterback Y.A. Tittle (1951), Merlin Olsen (1962, also of "Little House on the Prairie" fame), Jets quarterback Joe Namath (1965) and Los Angeles Rams offensive tackle Tom Mack (1966) – all Hall of Famers – were No. 2s.

But since 1968, only Dallas Cowboys linebacker Randy White (1975), running back Tony Dorsett (1977), New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor (1981), L.A. Rams running back Eric Dickerson (1983) and St. Louis Rams running back Marshall Faulk (1994) have been enshrined in Canton.

Since the merger, No. 2 picks who have flamed out far outnumber those who became household names. Here's a look at five for each category:

Jason Smith

Jason Smith

Since RG3 is still in the league, we won't put him on the list quite yet. But Smith, drafted second overall by the Rams in 2009, washed out after just four seasons, playing in only 29 games. He played eight games as a rookie and was traded to the New York Jets in 2012. The offensive tackle didn't start a single game in New York, and was released after the season, his last in the league. Top pick that year: Matthew Stafford.

Charles Rogers

Charles Rogers

No team symbolizes futility quite like the Detroit Lions, who have won just one playoff game since 1957. They are also the only NFL team to have ever gone 0-16, a mark set in 2008 that will never be surpassed. One reason for their perpetual ineptitude is poor draft choices. And of all the bad ones they've made, Rogers, a receiver, takes the cake. He was taken second overall in 2003, lasting three seasons and playing in just 15 games. Top pick that year: Carson Palmer.

Ryan Leaf

Ryan Leaf

Before the 1998 draft, it really was a tossup between Peyton Manning and Leaf, a Heisman Trophy finalist who led Washington State to its first ever Pac-10 title, as the top choice. After the Indianapolis Colts took Manning, the San Diego Chargers were thrilled to nab Leaf, only to watch him to become one of the greatest busts in NFL history. Leaf struggled on and off the field, as his poor work ethic and drug use caught up to him. He lasted just three seasons and 25 games. After washing out of the league he became a cautionary tale, serving prison stints for burglary and drug-related charges.

Darrell Russell

Darrell Russell

In 1997, Darrell Russell became the highest-paid rookie ever in the NFL when he signed a deal with the Raiders for $22 million over seven years. But after a couple of promising seasons Russell, a defensive tackle, spiraled downhill as a repeat offender (seven times) of the NFL's substance-abuse policies. He was out of the league by 2004 and a year later he tragically died in a car accident at the age of 29. Top pick that year: Orlando Pace.

Tony Mandarich

Tony Mandarich

Sports Illustrated put the hulking offensive lineman on its cover, with the headline "The Incredible Bulk" before he was even drafted by Green Bay in 1989. But Mandarich held out until one week before the regular season, then spent most of his rookie year on special teams. He was eventually cut in 1992, having never lived up to the hype that had SI dubbing him as the "best offensive line prospect ever." Top pick that year: Troy Aikman.

Von Miller

Von Miller

It's still a little early in his career, but the Broncos' No. 2 pick in 2011 recently became the highest paid linebacker in league history – and with good reason. The reigning Super Bowl MVP is possibly the most dominant linebacker since Lawrence Taylor. In four pro seasons, he's won a Super Bowl (2015) and been a four-time All-Pro. Top pick that year: Cam Newton.

Marshall Faulk

Marshall Faulk

Selected by the Colts in 1994, Faulk was a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 2011. An all-purpose back, Faulk is one of three players to have amassed at least 10,000 rushing yards and 5,000 receiving yards in his career – in fact, he outdid Marcus Allen and Tiki Barber by becoming the only back to gain 12,000 yards rushing and 6,000 receiving. Faulk won one Super Bowl with the St. Louis Rams, was a two-time league MVP and a three-time NFL Offensive Player of the Year. Top pick that year: Dan Wilkinson.

Eric Dickerson

Eric Dickerson

A first-ballot Hall of Famer in 1999, Dickerson was the fourth Hall of Famer who was a No. 2 pick in a span of nine years (1975-83). Drafted by the L.A. Rams in 1983, Dickerson also played for the Indianapolis Colts, L.A. Raiders and Atlanta Falcons. Though he never won a Super Bowl, Dickerson led the NFL in rushing four times and still holds the league's single-season rushing record of 2,105 yards, set in 1984. He broke rookie records in every key offensive category – most rushing attempts, yards gained and touchdowns. The breakout performance was good enough to be selected All-Pro as a rookie. During his career, he was a five-time All-Pro and the league’s Offensive Player of the Year (1986). Top pick this year: John Elway.

Lawrence Taylor

Lawrence Taylor

No list of successes would be complete without Taylor, a 10-time All-Pro whom the Giants snagged at No. 2 in 1981. Considered by most the best defensive player in history, he won just about every accolade the NFL has to offer and two Super Bowls to boot. His Hall of Fame selection was a no brainer. An incredibly disruptive player, L.T. changed the NFL pass rush and forced the league to explore new offensive formations. Top pick this year: George Rogers.

Tony Dorsett

Tony Dorsett

The face of the Cowboys for much of his career, Dorsett was drafted in 1977 and went on to four Pro Bowls in 12 years. Dorsett was the first Cowboy to sign a contract worth more than $1 million and he had an instant impact, rushing for 1,007 yards in his first season in which Dallas won the Super Bowl. The rest, of course, is history. Top pick this year: Ricky Bell.