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LA Rams’ QB Jared Goff climbs in ESPN’s QB rankings for 2018

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After being ranked 32nd last year, the only way to go was up!

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at New York Giants Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

After an abysmal start to his NFL career, Jared Goff had a very strong bounceback season in 2017. So strong, in fact, he lead the Los Angeles Rams to the playoffs, and found himself making his very first Pro Bowl appearance.

Mike Sando, over at ESPN, provides his annual QB power rankings in mid-late summer. If you’ll remember last year, Goff came in dead last (32nd) among all starting QB’s. Honestly, it was hard to blame Sando for ranking him last, and it was just as hard to blame Goff for his rookie performance, given the ineptitude of the previous regime.

Sando dropped his 2018 rankings (In$ider) on Tuesday morning. Goff, with nowhere to go but up, made a significant leap up the board. But before we get to the good stuff, here’s a friendly reminder on how it works, and who’s participating in the rankings:

The 50 league insiders vote on 36 players by placing them in tiers from 1 (best) to 5 (worst). The average of those rankings determined where each player landed.

The breakdown of voters this year: 10 general managers, five head coaches, 10 coordinators, 10 senior personnel executives, five QB coaches and 10 others with job titles ranging from assistant coach to salary-cap manager to analytics director.

Here’s how it kicked off.

Tier 1

(1) Aaron Rodgers, 1.00

(T-1) Tom Brady, 1.00

(3) Drew Brees, 1.12

(4) Ben Roethlisberger, 1.40

Tier 2

(5) Matt Ryan, 1.62

(6) Russell Wilson, 1.72

(7) Matthew Stafford, 1.74

(8) Philip Rivers, 1.80

(9) Carson Wentz, 1.84

(10) Andrew Luck, 1.94

(11) Cam Newton, 2.30

(12) Derek Carr, 2.42

(13) Jimmy Garoppolo, 2.58

(14) Deshaun Watson, 2.60

Tier 3

(15) Kirk Cousins, 2.52

(T-15) Alex Smith, 2.52

(17) Eli Manning, 2.78

(T-17) Dak Prescott, 2.78

(19) Jared Goff, 2.80

The magnitude of the Rams’ offensive reversal came as a shock, but an offensive coordinator quoted in the 2017 QB Tiers deserves credit for saying this about Goff last offseason: “It was a little bit unfair throwing him in there like they did, especially when everything was in turmoil with that organization. I think he has a chance. Maybe he can move toward a 3 this year with the idea of becoming a 2 one day.

That is what happened. Goff made the largest year-over-year leap in average tier, diminishing his 0-7 record as a rookie starter in this evaluation. Now the expectations increase again.

A starting quarterback should be able to take advantage and not hinder the offense when everything is great -- the playcaller, the running back, all that,” a voter said. “Give Goff credit for that. There are moments when the QB has to convert -- it’s on him. Atlanta put Goff in those situations during the playoff game, and he could not convert. Now, this offseason, you can bet teams have been breaking down how to slow that offense.”

Fourteen voters placed Goff in the second tier. Four placed him in the fourth, which seemed surprisingly low following a full season of productive play. But some voters gave much more credit to coach Sean McVay, a healthy Todd Gurley and an improved offensive line. Goff’s rookie season wasn’t totally irrelevant to them.

I’m going to step out here a little bit and say he’s a 2,” a former GM said, “because of the upside, because of the arm talent, because of how he bounced back from adversity. They gave him some weapons, but the majority of quarterbacks need them. He went through some stuff, he responded in the right way and I respect that in a quarterback.

And there you have it. It sounds as if most are giving Goff his due credit, while there are still a few skeptics that remain.

How would you rank Jared Goff among the league’s other starting QB’s? And who do you see on the list that is ranked too high, or shouldn’t be ranked ahead of Jared?