One of the more popular names that you will be hearing about in the coming months is Jared Goff, the quarterback for the University of California, Berkeley.
The 6’4 junior made waves this year at Cal throwing for 43 touchdowns with 13 interceptions. Goff has the traits needed to justify using a top-10 pick on, but I feel even better than that about him.
Obviously, quarterback evaluation is far from a science. Every team needs a quarterback and we often see many of these guys taken early and being complete busts.
With that being said, when I look at quarterback tape I like to keep it simple. Instead of looking at the technical aspect, I want you to catch my eye. I want you to do things that wow me. Let your game speak for you.
Jared Goff just has that special something. Right off the bat you will enjoy what you see, but then when you take that to the next level and figure out what you are liking…that is when you should really like it.
The most special aspect of Goff’s game is how natural the game comes to him. His awareness in the pocket is uncanny. You will often see him position himself in the pocket perfectly to avoid pressure. I’ve seen him sidestep players without even looking at them. When the play does break down, which it often does due to the poor play by his offensive line, that is when Goff makes some big plays.
Does that remind you of someone? Hmm, is there a player on the Cowboys that excels at avoiding pressure and hitting big plays? Yes, you guessed it…he reminds me of a young Tony Romo.
The way Romo works under pressure and his awareness to avoid pressure and then make you pay is something that Goff also brings to the table. Goff rarely drops his eyes. Even when he is pressured, his eyes stay downfield. This is something that can’t be taught.
While Goff doesn’t have a big or powerful arm, he makes up for that with his accuracy and touch. I have zero concerns about his ability to throw the deep ball. His touch and accuracy allow him to lead receivers and place the ball into tight windows.
Unlike Paxton Lynch or Carson Wentz, you don’t really NEED to sit him right away. However, I am a huge proponent for sitting young QBs and letting them learn. If Goff is afforded the luxury of sitting for a year and learning from Tony Romo, we may see a really special quarterback once Romo moves on.
With Goff and Romo sharing so many similarities it can be huge for Goff’s development.
Something Tony Romo dealt with early in his career was learning when and where to take risks. When you are avoiding pressure like Romo does, you have to react quickly when throwing the ball. This often got Romo into trouble as he wouldn’t notice a defender and put the ball in harms way.
As Romo matured, he learned to not only dissect defenses better, knowing where defenders would be pre-snap, but he learned where to place the ball to give receivers a chance but also keep the ball away from defenders. Sometimes we will see Romo fire one low, or too far right or left, but what he is doing is getting rid of the ball while giving his receiver a chance to make a play.
This is something that Jared Goff can learn. Goff has the gunslinger mentality and trusts his accuracy a little too much. He will try to fit balls between two defenders or into traffic thinking he can make it work, but making mistakes.
In the following clip you will see two interceptions. On the first one, Goff tries to make a big play with a fairly clean pocket. The throw is risky as the DB undercuts the WR’s route and gets the easy interception. On the second interception, Goff gets heavy pressure and fires the screen into a ton of traffic anyway, something we’ve seen Romo do.
When you are picking fourth in an NFL draft, you should always prioritize a quarterback, especially when you actually need one. Quarterback is the prime position in the NFL. No team ever has enough talent at quarterback and it cannot hurt to add more there. The hope is to never be picking that high again for a long time, so you want to strike now for your quarterback of the future.
However, best player available always comes into play. Do you want to miss out on a Tyron Smith or JJ Watt by taking a Jake Locker or Blaine Gabbert?
Jared Goff is worthy of the fourth overall pick. He may not get there, but if he is available I would absolutely pull the trigger. This is a player with everything you can ask for out of a quarterback. There are few, if any, red flags. The Dallas Cowboys organization would be a great landing spot for Goff and I think the marriage between the two would be mutually beneficial.