This is the third year of my Armchair Scouting Reports series, and I’m pleased to be bringing them to TwoQBs.com for 2016. Since this is THE place to be for all things quarterback, this year’s iteration will be focused on the quarterback position! As always, we’ll dissect the upcoming prospects from multiple angles and provide some fantasy analysis as well.
With that established I have to be up front about something: I really dislike the 2016 quarterback class. Last year saw Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota drafted with the first two picks of the draft, and I think both will have sustained success in the NFL. This class I’m not too sure about. I even went as far as to say on the 100th episode of RotoViz Radio I don’t think ANY of the signal callers from this class will be starters in the next three years. I’ve softened on that stance a little bit since then, but that should give you an idea of where I’m coming from when discussing this class of quarterbacks. With that in mind, let’s talk a little bit about Jared Goff, who is the quarterback with probably the best chance of having some kind of career.
What the Film Shows
The first thing that immediately jumps off the screen to me, as an evaluator, is just how bad the Cal wide receivers were. It is near impossible to watch clips of Goff and not see multiple drops. Still, Goff was able to be successful, especially in regards to accuracy. I would say that is easily his best trait right now. Goff is athletic and fairly mobile; comparable with someone like Blake Bortles in that department. He delivers the ball with a high release point and has good touch. Goff’s arm, however, leaves much to be desired, as I’d have him average-to-potentially below average in that area. I don’t love his delivery, but I think we often overstate the importance of such things when evaluating quarterbacks. If Philip Rivers can have a successful career with his, I feel pretty convinced anyone can. Goff also has a tendency to fade away from pressure instead of standing strong in the pocket to deliver balls under duress.
What His Numbers Say
Here are Goff’s career passing numbers courtesy of Sports Reference:
I also took the liberty of breaking down Goff’s junior year by game, and including the rank of the opposing pass defense based on Football Outsiders S&P+ Ratings:
|San Diego State||52||17||24||70.8||321||14.00||3||1||216.1|
The numbers show a quarterback that improved every year of his college career, though he threw his highest number of picks as a junior. We can see Goff beat up on a couple of poor pass defenses, but overall played really well against many of the tough Pac-12 defenses, as well as Texas. His only real disaster game was against Utah, where he threw five interceptions. The numbers really reinforce the idea that Goff is an accurate quarterback, as he managed to complete 64.5 percent of his passes this season despite the aforementioned poor wide receiver play. Goff’s 9.43 final year AYA is solid, but well below the marks Winston and Mariota set during their careers, as they each had an AYA of at least 11.43 under their belts.
Player Comparison: Alex Smith
I don’t think Goff has the same level of star potential as some other quarterbacks who have come out in the last few years, but he still has a shot at a decent career as a result of his accuracy. Smith came from a completely different college system than Goff, but that probably explains the incredible learning curve the former Ute had to go through. Despite similar arm strength, I do think Goff is more willing to take shots down the field. He has a shot to be someone who carves out a journeyman career on the back of accuracy, underrated mobility, and a lack of mistakes.
Ideal Landing Spot: Browns
The words “ideal” and “Browns” are usually not uttered in the same sentence, but hear me out. By hook or by crook, Goff is probably going to end up a top-ten pick, if not top-five. The only teams that could really consider quarterback a viable option would be the Browns, Chargers, Cowboys, 49ers, and Giants. San Diego, Dallas, and New York all have established, aging signal callers, and Goff going to any of those three teams would mean sitting out for at least a year, and potentially more. The 49ers could bring in Goff, but it’s believed Chip Kelly will settle on Colin Kaepernick as his starter. That means Cleveland is really the only spot Goff can come in and play right away, unless a team like the move up to select him.
And the reality is that, especially for fantasy, Cleveland is a pretty strong landing spot. Josh McCown was very effective last season with the team, and the Browns could get back Josh Gordon this season. I think if Blake Bortles has taught us anything, it’s that if you surround a young quarterback with great weapons, he can put up tremendous statistics. Pick on Cleveland, mock their inability to roll out a contender, but respect the team’s ability to potentially groom a young quarterback into success. It also helps that Hue Jackson will be at the helm for the Browns.
Current 2QB Fantasy Rookie Draft Projection: Mid-Late 1st Round (Mid-2nd Round in 1QB Leagues)
Even if Goff were the first quarterback off the board in April, it would be hard to argue for him to be a top-end draft commodity. The quarterback position is very saturated, and Goff is not an elite prospect. That said, I could see someone selecting him around pick six or so in 2QB formats, after some of the elite skill players are off the board. In single quarterback formats, Goff would almost completely be devoid of serious value.
Overall, my grade is pretty close to average for Goff as a prospect, which means I don’t expect him to ever be a serious difference-maker. For context, I would have preferred someone like Teddy Bridgewater to Goff a couple of years ago, so the Cal standout’s draft position has more to do with position scarcity and inflation than pure talent. Just how much Goff ends up being worth will be determined, ultimately, by his landing spot and overall staying power. We’ve seen passers like Smith maintain decent fantasy viability, especially for the late round quarterback community, and Goff could potentially do the same.
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