University of California, Berkeley junior quarterback Jared Goff is one of the most talented quarterbacks in the 2016 NFL Draft class. Goff possesses good size for the position; listed at 6’4”, 210 lbs. with a lean frame. He will be a 22-year old rookie.
The first thing that stands out about Jared Goff is his feel for the position. His high football IQ and control of the offense allow him to take advantage of defenses when they are misaligned or outnumbered. Goff processes information at a very high rate and his feet are consistently in ready-to-throw position with a wide base. He is comfortable reading the entire field and shows good eye discipline, looking to one side of the field to hold a safety before looking back to his intended target.
Goff has an understanding of how to attack opposing defenses and he gets the ball out on time regularly. He is comfortable throwing to covered receivers, makes anticipatory throws, and he shows an aptitude for throwing covered receivers open. Goff also utilizes pump fakes to manipulate coverage and open throwing lanes.
As a passer, Goff displays very good arm strength and ball placement when mechanics are tight, but shows a tendency to fall off his base and does not consistently drive the ball at times. These issues especially show up when Goff is under pressure. There are times when Goff tries to get the ball out too quickly and does not properly transfer his weight while throwing off his back foot. This leads to a lack of velocity and ball placement.
He is not always comfortable holding the ball and waiting for plays to develop. There is a consistent sense of urgency to get the ball out. Goff shows the ability to make throws from multiple platforms and also shows flashes where he makes accurate throws from a congested pocket. Aforementioned mechanical flaws especially show up when Goff is faced with interior pressure. Throwing velocity, decision-making processes, and ball placement decline considerably under these circumstances.
When Goff gets into a rhythm, he goes for stretches where he makes optimal throws to all levels of the field in bunches. Goff is very comfortable throwing to the short to intermediate levels of the field and he does not show fear throwing over the middle, where windows can be tight. Goff shows good trajectory and touch on his deep ball for the most part, but has a tendency to miss on wide-open touch throws down the field. This especially occurs when under pressure. Goff makes some questionable decisions when plays break down and must learn to give up on defeated plays by taking sacks or throwing the ball away more often rather than making a bad play worse through throwing the ball up to the defense.
When throwing on the run, Goff does not consistently transfer his weight and this sometimes leads to underthrows.
When plays break down, Goff shows flashes of creativity, but he is at his best within the structure of the offense. He is comfortable stepping up in the pocket and does a good job of keeping his eyes downfield. Goff is a solid athlete for the position. He will not break many long runs, but he can make defenses pay with a first down from time to time if rushers get out of their lanes. Pocket presence leaves room for improvement. Goff will step up into sacks at times rather than buying more time for himself through retreating or looking for room to scramble.
Overall, Jared Goff is a very talented quarterback who should only get better with coaching and support. His football IQ is on a level that few draft prospects can contend with and his ability to process information at a high rate stands out above most. As Goff’s lower body mechanics are coached and developed, his velocity and ball placement should become more consistent. An NFL strength and conditioning program should help in this area as well. While Goff has work to do when it comes to dealing with pressure, the flashes of brilliance give me confidence that this will improve with experience.
When all is said and done, I believe Jared Goff has a chance to develop into one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL and certainly one that a winning team can build around. Hue Jackson and the Cleveland Browns should absolutely consider Jared Goff with the 2nd pick of the 2016 NFL Draft.