The national media has been abuzz with the fact that No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff has not cracked backup duties for the Rams and was, in fact, a healthy scratch for Monday night’s 28-0 loss to the 49ers Monday night.
Obviously, there’s a long way to go before anyone can make any judgments on Goff’s NFL future, but the optics are bad. Still, I wondered if scouts felt the same way. Was Goff a guy that teams felt was a near-certain future star? Do his early struggles make sense to people in the business?
Based on their responses, the jury is still way, way out. We got a lot of comments that were on the fence, like these:
- “Too soon to judge, IMO.”
- “(We thought he was pretty much NFL-ready but) if you’re not a very good team you don’t want to throw him out there either. Many more showings like (Monday) night and they won’t have a choice.”
- “I saw him preseason and thought he would play this year after a few games. (Backup QB Sean) Mannion is better than (Monday) night’s (performance).”
- “He wasn’t my guy so I don’t remember much of the read on him, but I remember him being talented with good traits.”
However, I also had a conversation with one scout that I thought encapsulated things best. He said scouts were all over the place on Goff, with some liking his upside, and others seeing him as comparable to Memphis’ Paxton Lynch and even Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott. These scouts preferred North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz. Despite Wentz’s small-school pedigree, they liked his intangibles and the multiple national titles he was part of at NDSU.
These scouts also had concerns that Goff had gone from nowhere as a sophomore to a possible No. 1 overall as a junior. They just didn’t feel his total body of work justified the investment.
“That’s a concern when you’re taking a guy first overall, with a lot of (varied) grades,” my friend said.
I’d agree. Teams have to make the best decision based on the information they have, and obviously, opinions vary. However, if Goff turns out to be a guy who doesn’t live up to expectations, it could be because the Rams felt they had to have a quarterback, and he looked like their best option. The one resounding message I get back from scouts is that the surest way to miss on a pick is to draft based on need, and not purely on the best player available.
Once again, there’s still plenty of time for Goff to turn into Aaron Rodgers, another player who spent a lot of time on the bench initially. No one knows what the future holds. That’s what makes the draft so intriguing.