On the Stephen A. Smith Show on SiriusXM Radio yesterday, former NFL and USC star WR Keyshawn Johnson said that according to his “outside and inside people”, Los Angles Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher was “forced” to draft 2016 NFL Draft #1 overall pick Jared Goff (key quote starts at 38:57 mark):
Johnson: Well, I think [Jared Goff’s benching] is about everybody. I think it’s the people that have to get Jared Goff prepared. I think it’s about the individuals that made the decision to draft him, whether it was Kevin Demoff or whether it was Les Snead with a little bit of help from Jeff Fisher.
From my outside people and the inside people that I know with the Rams, that wasn’t the choice that Jeff Fisher really wanted. I think he was basically forced to draft Jared Goff.
Smith: Who did he want?
Johnson: I think he wanted more players. I think he wanted more players because he felt that he could be more competitive with more players, but they felt they needed to make a splash moving into Los Angeles and drafting a quarterback.
Look. I don’t care what anybody say, and I say this all the time. I’ve seen Jared Goff for three years. Three years out here in the Pac-12. I like him. He’s a nice kid, but he wouldn’t have been my #1 overall pick. He just wouldn’t have been. He doesn’t give me...
This isn’t Andrew Luck or Cam Newton we’re talking about. You don’t move up to take this type of guy.
The evaluation of Goff? That’s secondary.
Consider the charge Johnson is making here. That the Rams forced their head coach, who has been reportedly in charge of personnel decisions since being hired in 2012, to trade up to the #1 overall spot to draft a quarterback not on the merits of his football capability, but to “make a splash” following the relocation of the franchise from St. Louis to Los Angeles.
That’s a damning accusation. It suggests that the Rams aren’t sincerely trying to field the best football team possible. It reinforces the suggestion I’ve made that the Rams don’t prioritize winning, but does so in much more deleterious fashion.
What Johnson is suggesting is that not only do the Rams not prioritize winning, but they’re actively subverting their chances at winning to “make a splash,” to sell fans on style over substance.
Keep in mind, this is a franchise that posted the worst offense in the NFL by several metrics and kept that offense in tact, save for former leading receiver TE Jared Cook and ex-starting QB Nick Foles. Their entire starting offense for Week 1 of 2016 was comprised of members of the NFL’s worst offense in 2015. Why? Because the Rams didn’t have the draft capital to address the offense in any meaningful way after trading up to get Jared Goff. They’ve tossed in their first-round and third-round picks from the 2017 NFL Draft as well meaning this year’s offense, which started the season by putting up a shutout in San Francisco on Monday, is unlikely to get much substantial capital support through next year’s draft.
It’s one hell of an accusation that I’m eager to see media follow up on.
Johnson is part of a new morning show for ESPNLA 710AM, Los Angeles’ ESPN Radio affiliate, with Jorge Sedano and columnist LZ Granderson debuting a week from today.