For the umpteenth time since Kurt Warner and the Greatest Show On Turf, there will be a new face at quarterback for the Rams.
Though it took a massive trade this go around, the Los Angeles Rams landed themselves the No.1 pick in the draft for the second time in the last decade. Sam Bradford was the choice when they had the spot in 2010, though he failed to pan out the way the team would have hoped. Granted, the organization made minimal (and poor) efforts to support him, and he also struggled with injury. Bradford had the cards stacked against him, but he was a disappointing first overall selection nonetheless.
In harmony with the team’s relocation to Los Angeles, the Rams tried their hand at a first overall quarterback again. Jared Goff, a Cal product homegrown in California, is a shot at redemption. He is a chance to right the wrongs of the Bradford era.
He is a new beginning.
Goff felt like one of the most universally liked quarterback prospects in the past several years. Even after a year with two elite quarterback prospects, Goff was not a victim of the past draft’s hangover and was held in high regard for many analysts. Goff was lauded for his intelligence, footwork and accuracy in the college ranks.
The "Bear Raid" system that Cal ran was more nuanced and advanced than other air raid type systems, and Goff ran the offense with great efficiency. He made brilliant pre-snap reads and was able to flow through his progressions rather well. There were moments of stubbornness where he hung on too tightly to his pre-snap reads, but hopefully that was more a product of his youth than a crystal ball into the future.
In terms of his feet, Goff still has a ways to go, but he flashed a number of traits that could be fine tuned as he develops in the NFL. His movement in the pocket is nimble and purposeful, namely when stepping directly up into the pocket, but he does not yet have the creativity to ebb and flow through the wake of a collapsed pocket. However, when the pocket is clean and he knows early on where he is going with the ball, Goff sets his base well when he prepares to throw, allowing himself a clean, efficient throwing motion. His feet can get too jittery prior to finding his target, though, and it would help improve his arm strength if he were to learn to play more grounded to more comfortably plant and drive on the ball.
In addition to his mental acuity and flashes of delicate footwork, Goff feasted over the middle of the field as a passer. That was where his velocity was at its best and where most of his best throws came. Goff proved to be dangerous with crossing routes, dig routes, deep curl routes over the hash marks and other concepts of that sort. He fired to that are of the field with confidence and accuracy — a tricky combo for any defense to slow down.
Goff isn’t fighting for a job, but he is fighting for a starting spot atop the depth chart. The coaching staff continues to insist that Case Keenum is the starter and will be come week one as Goff’s ability to adjust to the pros will determine when Keenum is pulled. Those are the only two who should start any games for the Rams this season, though. Sean Mannion is no threat to either of Keenum or Goff, and Nick Foles is no longer a headache that Los Angeles has to deal with.
Considering how much draft capital it took to get him, Goff should start week one, but would be understandable to sit him for the first few games to give him extra time to acclimate. Whenever he takes the reigns, he shouldn’t be expected to light up the league from the jump. He is a player who is going to need to adjust to the speed, physicality and unforgiving culture of the NFL.
Chances of Making Final Roster (11/10)
It goes without saying that Goff has a spot on this team. He is an upgrade at quarterback this year and for years to come.
There will be bumps along the way, no doubt, but hopefully Goff can pave the way to a bright future for the Rams in Los Angeles.