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Scouting Combine notebook: For Wentz, winning is most important thing

INDIANAPOLIS – Carson Wentz continues to hear the questions about his small-school background.

Was the competition he faced at North Dakota State strong enough for him to prove that he has what it takes to be a franchise quarterback in the NFL? Wouldn’t it be a big risk for a team to select him in the upper tier of the draft?

Wentz has a simple response.

“First and foremost, you got to win,” he told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine. “I think for me coming out of North Dakota State, I think the track record speaks for itself as a winner.”

Wentz went 20-3 as a starter with the Bison. He also led the team to FCS championships in 2014 and 2015.

That, along with his considerable size (6-foot-5 and 233 pounds), strong passing arm, and sound mechanics could very well make him the second overall pick of the draft. That’s where the Cleveland Browns, who need a quarterback, are choosing.

“So when I think of a franchise quarterback, not only do I think of the physical ability, but I think of being a winner, winning ballgames, taking command, being a leader,” Wentz said. “All those things come to mind.”

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The entertainment factor with Joey Bosa is clearly upper-first-round caliber.

He has an easygoing manner that belies the ferocity that he displayed while playing defensive end for Ohio State. He clearly enjoys the give-and-take with reporters because it provides an opportunity to show his personality.

For instance, consider what Bosa, wearing a baseball cap backward over his long hair, had to say Friday in answer to the question of whether, once he enters the NFL, he’d prefer to be called Joe instead of Joey: “No, I never see myself as a Joe. Maybe, once I’m 50, I’ll be Joe. ‘Old Man Joe.’”

And this, in response to the question of his targeted time in the 40-yard dash: “As fast as I can.”

Bosa is regarded by some draft analysts as a potential top-overall choice. And as far as he’s concerned, he should be.

“I do believe I’m the best player in the draft,” Bosa said. “As a top player, if you don’t believe that, there’s something wrong.”

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The player most mocked to Rex Ryan’s Buffalo Bills at No. 19 overall sure sounds like a Rex Ryan player: a player seeking a second chance.

Ryan has branded himself Mr. Second Chance himself one year in. And this week at the NFL scouting combine, Ole Miss defensive end Robert Nkemdiche is trying to get his story straight.

Nkemdiche is one of this year’s most polarizing prospects after falling from a hotel window in Atlanta and getting arrested for marijuana possession. According to the police report, his room was “in complete disarray,” along with “seven rolled marijuana cigarettes” laying around and Ole Miss subsequently suspended him. He missed the Sugar Bowl. Nkemdiche said he was drunk that night – not on drugs.

On the field, Nkemdiche has flashed signs of being a physical freak teams seek on the defensive line, one who could start right away.

“It was a rash decision by me,” Nkemdiche said. “Uncharacteristic. That’s not who I am. That’s not what I stand for. That’s not what my family stands for.”

Teams, he added, do believe him.

email: vcarucci@buffnews.com and tdunne@buffnews.com

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