2016-Present

2016 NFL Draft: Will it be Jared Goff or Carson Wentz for the L.A. Rams?

It’s less than 24 hours away from the 2016 NFL Draft and the Los Angeles Rams are on the clock. Every mock draft, sports media outlet and self-appointed expert at home has the Rams taking either University of California’s Jared Goff or North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz with the first pick. Let’s take one last look at both of them before the Rams take the podium.

Jared Goff at the 2016 NFL Combine Photo credit: Gregory Payan/AP

Jared Goff at the 2016 NFL Combine
Photo credit: Gregory Payan/AP

Jared Goff

Most mock drafts have the Rams taking Goff.  He started all twelve games in 2013 as a true freshman. Despite finishing the season 1–11, Goff set Cal’s single-season record for passing yards (3,508), along with several other records.

In 2014, he led the team to a 5-7 record and eclipsed his freshman record with 3,973 passing yards, 35 touchdown passes and only seven interceptions.

Goff led the Bears to a 7–5 season in 2015, clinching Cal’s first winning season since 2011 and earning a bowl bid for the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl. He surpassed his own records for passing yards (4,714), touchdown passes (43), and total offense (4,260), before announcing that he would enter the 2016 NFL Draft.

Measurements:

Height: 6’4” Weight: 215 lbs. Arm length: 32 ¾” Hands: 9”

Combine results:

40yd dash: 4.82 secs. Vertical jump: 27” Broad jump: 110” 3 Cone drill: 7.17 secs. Wonderlic: 36

Strengths:  Goff has good arm strength and accuracy. His mobility and pocket presence improved last season and should translate well to the next level. He can scramble and throw off-balance. Goff’s accuracy and decision-making in the red zone will translate well in the NFL. He completes a high percentage of his deep throws, with good trajectory and a soft touch. Footwork is solid, but he took most of his snaps in shotgun.

Weaknesses: He ran the pistol or spread type offense in college, and his lack of experience running a pro-style offense may limit his abilities in the NFL. Goff rushes throws at times and tries to force the ball through defenders. He also struggles against the zone defense, where he threw most of his interceptions. Goff has small hands and fumbled the football 24 times while at Cal. His smaller lower body means injury concerns, which remind me of former Rams No. 1 pick Sam Bradford. Furthermore, he saw only winning season in college, and his overall win/loss record at Cal was 13-23 with one bowl win.

Carson Wentz at the 2016 NFL Combine Photo credit: Darron Cummings/Associated Press

Carson Wentz at the 2016 NFL Combine
Photo credit: Darron Cummings/Associated Press

Carson Wentz

As a freshman in 2012, Wentz was the backup quarterback behind Brock Jensen. He finished the season completing 12 of 16 passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns.

In 2013, he was still the second-string quarterback and didn’t play much in the season. He completed 22 of 30 passes for 209 yards and a touchdown.

Wentz became the starting quarterback in 2014, which was his junior year. He led North Dakota State to a 15–1 record and an appearance in the FCS National Championship Game against Illinois State. The Bison went on to win the title, beating Illinois State 29–27. He started all 16 games that season, completing 228 of 358 passes for 3,111 yards with 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Wentz started the first six games of the 2015 season, completing 63.7 percent of his passes for a total of 1,454 yards, and 16 touchdowns. Unfortunately, he missed the next eight weeks of the season after suffering a broken wrist against South Dakota. He rehabbed quickly after undergoing surgery on his wrist and returned to practice in time to play in the 2015 FCS National Championship Game. Wentz led NDSU to its fifth straight championship when the Bison defeated Jacksonville State, 37-10. He ran for two touchdowns and threw for a third. Wentz was named the NCAA Division I-AA Championship Game Most Outstanding Player for the second straight year.

Measurements:

Height: 6’5” Weight: 237 lbs. Arm length: 33 1/4” Hands: 10”

Combine results:

40yd dash: 4.77 secs. Vertical jump: 30.5” Broad jump: 118” 3 Cone drill: 6.86 secs. Wonderlic: 40

Strengths: Wentz is tall and athletic like Ben Roethlisberger, but more mobile.  He is perfectly built to play quarterback in the NFL. AT NDSU, he played in a pro-­style offense and played a lot under center. This will transition well to most NFL teams.  Wentz is intelligent and academically solid; he should have no issues learning an NFL playbook quickly. Wentz is also strong against zone coverage. He’s an accurate passer with a high release point. Wentz owns one of the strongest arms in the draft and throws a great deep ball. Combine that with the fact that he is good with reads and progressions, and he has the makings of being a complete passer. Wentz is also not afraid to take a hit and has the body to handle it. He’s a winner and knows how to translate it to the field. There are no character issues with him at all.

Weaknesses: Many experts have said he may have issues adapting to NFL speed, because he played in the FCS instead of Division 1. There are injury concerns from a broken wrist in 2015, and he had arm and shoulder injuries playing baseball in high school. Wentz throws well on the run, but he will float a few passes when taking shots down the field. He’s not as well-known as many quarterbacks in the draft.

In summary, I believe that Wentz should be the Ram’s pick. He has the most upside of the two, and he should fit well within their offense. However, I have a feeling the Rams will pick Goff. Many scouts say that Goff is more NFL-ready and can start day one. Either way, I’m happy that the Rams made a splash in their first year back in Los Angeles.

Norm Hightower has been following the Rams for 48 years. You can follow Norm on Twitter @normhightower or on Facebook. Be sure to follow Rams Talk on Twitter @TalkRams.

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