With the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft, the Los Angeles Rams select Cal QB Jared Goff.
The first question is, how does Goff—who ran a “Bear-Raid” offense at Cal—fit into the Rams' power scheme with limited passing options? He'll have to adjust protections, which he hasn't really done before. It helps that the onus won't be on him to throw 50 times a game in a complex system, but this is a worrying pick given everything the Rams gave up to move to No. 1. Goff is good under pressure for the most part, and he's used to throwing to iffy receivers, but systemically, it could be argued that Carson Wentz, who ran a more diverse power-based offense at North Dakota State, would have been the better fit here.
Strengths: For the most part, Goff plays and throws with consistent mechanics, whether throwing deep or short, on the run or in the pocket. Has the arm to make most throws, including the cross-body boundary timing pass and the deep post if he’s not under too much pressure. Efficient motion allows him to get the ball downfield with a flick of the wrist. Has a natural way with shifting his weight in time with his throwing motion so he’s not limited to throwing with his upper body, even on short passes, and this promotes consistency from throw to throw. Full-field reader who seems perfectly comfortable going through multiple progressions in a short time and throwing to his second and third options. Has the height and throwing arc to get the ball over linemen and linebackers to the middle of the field. Throws with excellent anticipation at times, and has the potential to throw his receivers open more often than he does. When he plays on time, Goff looks like a pro.
Can quickly discern the open man and pulls the trigger to half a field from multiple route concepts. Keeps his head downfield when rolling out. Steps up in the pocket to evade side pressure and make the throw with proper mechanics. Mobile enough to keep the play alive for several extra seconds, though he’s not a running quarterback per se. Has no problem sticking in the pocket and moving around bodies; he has a good sense of when to stay and when to bail, and he’ll make the deep pass even when he knows he’s about to get plowed. Runs to throw and doesn’t let things fall apart when he’s moving out of the pocket. He stays poised with his eyes downfield, and stays in a ready stance to throw with his shoulders set. Made plays consistently and kept things together with a sub-par offensive line. Excellent with play action; will sell it well and bring defenders forward to create openings. Took control of Cal’s audibles for the 2015 season.
Weaknesses: Timing and accuracy are Goff’s two main issues, and they’re fairly glaring issues at times. Even on quick, easy slants and timing routes, he throws to the receiver’s back shoulder too often, misses the window, and throws his receivers into far too much danger in the middle of the field. Goff’s clock speeds up under pressure, and he’s more inclined to throw the ball away than he is to reset and make the open throw. Processing speed under pressure needs to be developed. A “see it and throw it” player who makes too many pre-determined reads and can’t always adjust—tends to throw wildly off-rhythm when this happens. Has a target in mind from the snap and isn’t flexible enough to adjust when receivers slip, slow down or are jammed at the line of scrimmage. Throws wild and high when his mechanics get off-kilter and is prone to throw multiple interceptions when this happens (see the 2015 Utah game).