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.
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: