Draft season never ends. Although the lights have turned off at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago and the lectern has been put away, teams are already setting their boards. With that in mind, Mark Schofield has an early look at the top QBs in the 2016 NFL draft.
Jared Goff – California
While the University of California football program has struggled the past two seasons, Jared Goff has quietly built an impressive resume. In 2013, Goff became the first quarterback in school history to start a season opener as a freshman, and although the Golden Bears finished 1-11, he set single-season records for passing yardage, yardage gained from scrimmage, total offense, passes completed and passes attempted. As a sophomore he completed 62% of his throws for 3,973 yards, 35 touchdowns, and only seven interceptions, guiding Cal to a 5-7 record that included big road wins over Northwestern and Oregon State.
Goff has a number of impressive physical tools, but pure arm strength is his most attractive trait right now. The cannon attached to his right shoulder is on full display on this play against Oregon:
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California puts the QB in the shotgun with slot formations to each side of the field against Oregon’s nickel defense showing Cover 1. The offense runs a variation of a mirrored passing play, with each inside slot receiver breaking to the outside on a short out pattern while the outside receivers run deeper routes. Goff has a post-corner route on his right, with a post route on his left. California’s left tackle gets pushed back into Goff’s face, and the QB is unable to reset his feet on this throw. But even without a proper base, Goff delivers a 25-yard strike on the post for a huge gain.
Questions linger about his size – specifically his thin frame (6’4” 205), but with two full seasons under his belt and an improving roster, Goff is in position to move up draft boards with a solid junior year.
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