CBS Sports released a list of what they believe are the top 25 NFL players under the age of 25. While that idea seems a bit vague, the players need to be at least a second-year player and obviously under the age of 25. They also added in some perimeters of what this list was based on:
What they’ve done so far: How well has the player played to this point in their career? Recent success matters more than early success. Availability also matters. Future projection: What is this player’s ceiling? This isn’t just a list about prior accomplishments. It’s also about the future. Positional value: It’s not a draft, but positional value is a factor -- just not the only factor.
A lot of energy was spent in this article on the explanation of why Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley was left off the list. The short story: they feel that he’s damaged goods, or at least his medical issues don’t represent what they’re going for in this piece. Fair enough.
Last year, Los Angeles Rams team captain Jared Goff was the only QB on the list. This year, he’s the lowest-rated quarterback among four, with Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes topping the list and Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield and Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson ahead of Goff. Despite some fantastic numbers last season, they ranked Goff #11 this year:
The warning signs that Goff is a product of Sean McVay’s system and can’t handle intense pressure (from pass rushers, not the moment) are evident. Goff struggled over a three-game stretch in December against the Lions, Bears, and Eagles, seeing his average yards per attempt plummet to 5.6 and his passer rating fall to 54.8 in those games. Then, in three playoff games against the Cowboys, Saints, and Patriots, Goff completed 55.7 percent of his passes, averaged 6.7 yards per attempt, threw one touchdown, got picked off twice, and accumulated a 71.7 passer rating. 2019 will be a revealing season if Gurley is hampered by his knee and if the offensive line worsens (Andrew Whitworth is a year older and the Rams parted ways with Rodger Saffold).
Lists like these are interesting because they drive home the criticism of Goff’s game or to be clear — what he needs to work on. He’s not tough, smart, or consistent enough to be considered elite.
Can the Rams still win the Super Bowl if Goff doesn’t make a drastic improvement? Granted, Goff has put up impressive numbers, it’s just he hasn’t been perfect. If you look at the Super Bowl teams of the Baltimore Ravens (QB Joe Flacco) or even the Philadelphia Eagles (with QB Nick Foles), one could argue that Goff is good enough to win it all.
NFL.com also made a list of top players under 25, but only listed one player per position. Mahomes was their top pick with Mayfield as their second choice.
I think this is great bulletin board material for Jared. When he’s strutting around LA in his Core Temp duds listening to his EDM, Goff can stew about the slights he’s been receiving this offseason and strive to get better.
What does better even mean for Jared Goff? And for fans? Is Goff still the man to bring us back to the promised land? Hell, even if he never makes a list for the rest of his life, all he needs to do for Rams fans is win.
Ultimately, he probably needs to win a Super Bowl in convincing fashion more than once. We’re Super Bowl or bust, right? These lists are garbage at the end of the day, but they signal the temperature of the league and right now, the NFL is cooling on Jared Goff.