College offense ran lot of plays he won't run in the NFL
Summary: Weeks before Paxton Lynch ended the season with a dud against Auburn, I had Goff ahead of Lynch on my big board. In my opinion, Goff is the top quarterback prospect for the 2016 NFL Draft. Despite playing in a gimmicky college offense, Goff is the most polished passer with accuracy, field vision, and the ability to distribute the ball. He definitely needs development, and his NFL readiness is not close to Andrew Luck or Jameis Winston, but Goff has the tools to be a quality NFL starter.
Goff was a point machine in the Bear Raid offense over the past three seasons. As a freshman, he completed 60 percent of his passes for 3,508 yards with 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Goff showed a big jump in play as a sophomore, completing 62 percent of his passes in 2014 for 3,973 yards with 35 touchdowns and seven interceptions. His best year was 2015 when he ripped apart the Pac-12. For the year, the junior completed 64 percent of his passes for 4,719 yards with 43 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
Goff's career completion percentage is vastly inflated from a lot of instant quick throws and bubble screens; however, he is an accurate passer. Goff can hit receivers in stride on slants and digs in the short to intermediate part of the field. Those are staple plays in a West Coast offense. Goff also has shown the skills to loft in some beautiful touch passes to the sidelines and downfield. He throws a very catchable ball and has a strong enough arm to make all the required throws in the NFL. Goff's tape flashes anticipation and field vision with the ability to work through his progressions and find an open receiver. He needs to get more consistent for the NFL, but he has that potential.
An underrated aspect of Goff's game is athleticism. He shows nice feet to move and climb in the pocket. Goff also can take off to pick up yards on the ground. However with his thin build, he will have to be careful about doing that in the NFL. Still, Goff projects to having functional mobility.
The junior doesn't possess a cannon like Matthew Stafford or Joe Flacco. In terms of arm strength, other 2016 prospects like Paxton Lynch or Cardale Jones are much more powerful, but Goff makes up for it with better accuracy and ball placement than his 2016 counterparts.
There is no doubt that scheme-wise, Goff will need development. He can get rattled by the pass rush, and that caused him to develop some bad habits during his junior year. Goff was working to correct them late in the 2015 season. It also would help him add bulk for the NFL to handle the pounding. That could help him to avoid getting injured. Goff also was always in shotgun, so learning to work under center will be another point of emphasis.
Teams are concerned about Goff's skinny frame. They would like him to get thicker, but sources were unsure that Goff had the body to gain and sustain more weight. He also has 9-inch hands. His hands are smaller than any of the quarterbacks who were drafted in the first round over the past couple of years (Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel).
Team sources have mixed opinions; some liked Goff and while other weren't very impressed with him. In speaking to a general manager from a team that is among the best at evaluating and developing quarterbacks, he felt that Goff was the best of the draft-eligible signal-callers. Others feel that Carson Wentz is better. If it weren't for so many teams being desperate for a quarterback, Goff would probably be a mid- to late first-rounder. However with the huge demand at the position, Goff looks likely to be a top-10 pick.
Player Comparison: Matt Ryan. In terms of build and style of play, Goff is reminiscent of Ryan. Both are functional pocket passers who can challenge a defense with accuracy in all levels of the field. Goff is a better runner than Ryan, but Goff won't be a true dual-threat quarterback in the NFL. Ryan was chosen with the third-overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, and Goff could also go in the top 10. If Goff lands with good talent around him, I could see him being a quarterback similar to Ryan, but I think not quite as good as Ryan.
NFL Matches: Cleveland, Dallas, San Francisco, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Houston, New York Jets and Buffalo
There are a lot of teams in the NFL that are in need of a franchise quarterback. The Browns' quarterback odyssey looks poised to continue. Goff is in play for Cleveland's first-round pick as he is more NFL-ready, and that could appeal to the franchise's new regime. However, Browns head coach Hue Jackson said he likes big hands on his quarterback and Goff doesn't have that attribute. WalterFootball.com also knows sources in Cleveland who prefer Carson Wentz.
The Cowboys could consider taking Goff with the fourth-overall pick. That would be a great situation for Goff to learn behind Tony Romo for a year or two while being developed by Jason Garrett. However, it sounds like Dallas is more likely to grab a young veteran in free agency while using its first-rounder on an instant contributor who can help Dallas make a playoff run in 2016 with Romo and Dez Bryant back from injury.
The 49ers are in the market for a starting quarterback with Colin Kaepernick on his way out of San Francisco. Goff would make a ton of sense for the 49ers.
St. Louis appears ready to give up on Nick Foles, and the Rams continue to have a big need at quarterback. Philadelphia is a wild card. The new regime won't be locked in to Sam Bradford and could consider making a move to find a better starter. The Rams and Eagles may have to trade up for Goff.
The lack of a quarterback is holding back the Texans, Bills and Jets from seriously challenging in the AFC. All three teams would probably have to trade up to land Goff. They have rosters capable of contending but each needs a long-term answers at quarterback, so one could be aggressive with giving up multiple picks to go get a player who that team's staff believes can be the new franchise quarterback.