The son of a former Major League Baseball player, Goff became the
first true freshman quarterback in Cal history to start a season
opener in 2013, setting a number of school passing records during
a 1-11 season. Things improved ever so slightly during his sophomore
campaign, as he guided the Golden Bears to a 4-1 start and threw
for 985 yards and 12 touchdowns toward the end of that run before
the better teams in the Pac-12 slowed Sonny Dykes' Bear Raid offense
down significantly. Despite attempting 22 fewer passes as a sophomore,
Goff threw for 465 more yards and nearly doubled his passing touchdown
output from his first year (18 to 35) while throwing only seven
Goff put the Cal program on his back once again in 2015, setting
conference records with 4,719 passing yards and 43 touchdowns
in his final go-round while leading the Bears to their first winning
season since 2011. This effort earned him first-team All-Pac 12
honors - the first Cal quarterback to do so since Aaron Rodgers
in 2004 - and sent the school to its first bowl victory since
2008 following a 55-36 win over Air Force in the Armed Forces
Bowl. Goff, who won MVP honors in that contest after throwing
for 467 yards and six scores, completed at least 60 percent of
his passes in each of his three seasons in Berkeley. He leaves
the program holding 26 school records, including passing yards
(12,220), passing yards per game (329.7), TD passes (96), completions
(977), passing attempts (1,569), total offense (12,086) and total
Best Scheme Fit: West Coast. Quick
decision-making skills as well as accuracy on short and intermediate
passes make him a natural fit in a quick-hitting, timing-based
offense. While he has sufficient arm strength and understands
how to throw a deep ball, he failed to connect on many throughout
his college career.
Displays good - not great - arm strength, but throws with
anticipation and is highly accurate on short and intermediate
throws from inside the pocket; excels at fade and back-shoulder
Quick decision-maker who shows a good knack for understanding
what the defense is attempting to do him post-snap; can manipulate
coverage with his eyes.
Unloads the ball quickly (sometimes by design and sometimes
out of necessity) and consistently throws receivers open.
Willing to stand in and take the big hit in order to make
the throw; shows good field awareness and knows when to slide,
thereby not exposing himself to unnecessary hits.
Consistently puts the right amount of touch on throws (such
as seam passes down the middle of the field) and understands
how to throw the deep ball.
Seems unaffected by mistakes committed by teammates (receivers
consistently dropped well-thrown passes and linemen consistently
missed blocks on obvious passing downs).
Virtually no experience in a pro-style attack; spent entire
college career in a spread offense; will need time to polish
lower-body mechanics and footwork.
Shows the ability to work under duress and moves functionally
in the pocket, but intermediate-to-deep accuracy tends to suffer
when he is on the move.
Possesses a somewhat slight build and is only a slightly above-average
athlete; can move the chains but will not strike fear into a
defense as a runner.
Rarely connected on the deep ball, although he appeared to
improve at this towards the end of the season.
Incurred more than 80 sacks and lost 11 fumbles in three seasons.
Goff is being hyped by many as perhaps the most finished product
this draft has to offer at the quarterback position, but I'm not
sure how anyone can tell. What is that supposed to mean? In just
about every contest he played in during the 2015 season against
a respectable defense, the two-time Pac-12 Offensive Player of
the Week winner spent seemingly at least half of the game on the
run. In other words, he was already a tough evaluation in that
he is a "spread quarterback" and making the chore doubly
difficult was how often he was required to create something outside
the framework of the actual play-call. As a result, figuring out
when Goff had "happy feet" and heard footsteps versus
how often he was resetting his feet quickly in order to unload
is one of the biggest challenges for scouts. Much like trying
to evaluate a receiver that suffers from poor quarterback play,
it is very hard to get a good feel about a talented quarterback
that is so often let down by his offensive line and/or wide receivers.
While Goff is occasionally guilty of holding onto the ball too
long and should be held accountable for his share of the 84 sacks
he absorbed in college, there are few top quarterback prospects
in recent memory that have been asked to unload the ball consistently
as quickly as he had to - whether it was by design or necessity.
In my opinion, Goff will require more time to adjust to the NFL
than Carson Wentz - assuming he doesn't land in a spread-type
offense like the one Chip Kelly figures to bring with him to San
Francisco. Goff's football intelligence, work ethic and feel for
the game will ultimately probably be the reasons he succeeds as
a pro and why he should still be considered a first-round talent,
but my biggest fear is that a couple more of years of poor pass
protection will turn his occasional "happy feet" into
a more permanent problem (the David Carr syndrome, if you will).
I don't have an issue with those that suggest Goff is the second-best
prospect at his position in this draft, but I think he is clearly
below Wentz at the moment. Like Wentz, I think Goff will be a
respectable pro signal-caller that will settle in as a clear starter
in the league, but not one who consistently give his team a substantial
edge at the position every week.
Doug Orth has written for FF
Today since 2006 and been featured in USA Today’s Fantasy
Football Preview magazine since 2010. He hosted USA Today’s
hour-long, pre-kickoff fantasy football internet chat every Sunday
in 2012-13 and appears as a guest analyst on a number of national
sports radio shows, including Sirius XM’s “Fantasy Drive”.
Doug is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.