North Dakota St. QB Carson Wentz or Cal QB Jared Goff?
That's the question facing the Los Angeles Rams now that they hold the #1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. It's also the question fans and media are looking to have answered with just one week until the Rams are officially on the clock.
ESPN's Todd McShay has his fifth mock draft out behind ESPN's insider paywall because you're a bad person, his first since the Rams pulled off the trade with the Tennessee Titans to acquire said first pick, with his answer between the two prospects...and a pretty weak blurb to accompany the pick:
Jared Goff (QB, Cal)
After making the move from No. 15 all the way up to No. 1, it seems the worst-kept secret in the world that L.A. is going to pick Goff. The Rams are an ideal landing spot for the Cal product. With a great defense and run-first offense, Goff won't be asked to carry the team from day one.
The first two sentences and the last? Fine. The Rams are seemingly locked in on Goff, especially given yesterday's behemoth trade between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Cleveland Browns pushing Philly up to the #2 overall pick for Wentz in all likelihood.
But the idea that the Rams have a "great defense?" That's what being so bad over the last decade gets you. Fake reputation without anyone actually paying attention to you.
That "great" Rams defense was 23rd in the NFL in yards allowed. Twenty-third. Not top five, not top ten...but I guess being in the middle of the bottom half is "great" if you don't actually watch the Rams. In fact, the Rams have gotten worse every year on defense in terms of yardage allowed under Head Coach Jeff Fisher: 14th in 2012, 15th in 2013, 17th in 2014 and 23rd in 2015. Now they're facing a season having shed DE Chris Long, MLB James Laurinaitis, CB Janoris Jenkins and S Rodney McLeod with just CB Coty Sensabaugh and DE Quinton Coples the only additions with a gaping hole in their draft pick board between the #1 overall pick and the 110th pick.
And that's the problem with the consensus building around the pick for the Los Angeles Rams. It makes sense as long as you go off of the current caricature of the Rams as a team with a "great" defense and a run-first offense that passed the ball more than they ran it, finished dead last in the NFL in yards gained overall and wasn't top five in rushing yards gained.
So while Goff (or Wentz, since I guess we have to play along for another week with the uncertainty) could certainly help reshape the caricature of the Rams, the idea that he can come in immediately and reshape their actual identity is pretty ridiculous.
Then again, Year 1 in Los Angeles was always going to be ridiculous. At least the Rams are going all-in.