Thoughts on Jared Goff & Carson Wentz

Even at this early stage it’s shaping up to be a draft where linemen dominate the early picks. The talent on the defensive and offensive lines is strong — and there’s a very real possibility there won’t be a quarterback drafted in the first round. Not unless a player emerges to fill that slot, much in the way Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert barged their way into 2011’s top ten.

I spent a bit of time today looking at Cal’s Jared Goff — and he’s probably the best bet for a first frame QB. He has a very natural throwing motion and plenty of arm talent. One of the first things to look for in a quarterback is how comfortable and natural they look throwing the ball. Does it come out nicely with a tight spiral and the necessary velocity? Can they vary the pace and throw with touch?

Seattle’s quarterback opponent on Sunday — Jimmy Clausen — was a classic example of a player with a funky motion who didn’t tick any of the necessary boxes. He had a slingy side-arm release point. Most of his throws were one paced — the downfield stuff was catchable but lacked any real punch. He benefitted a lot from Golden Tate’s ability to high point. Even so — most of Clausen’s throws were screens or extended hand-off’s to the receiver.

It doesn’t always have to be a conventional over-the-top release and the technique doesn’t have to be spot on — but you can usually see when a passer has a very natural throwing style. That’s really the first thing to look for. Then you go into things like the ability to go through progressions etc.

Ryan Tannehill is a good example of a player who threw very naturally but struggled in the next stage of the game — he made two many errors at the line of scrimmage — failing to identify the coverage, throwing blind, turning the ball over. He still makes the same mistakes today.

Goff is a very natural passer who can vary the throwing speed. He can fit it into a tight window in the short game but also has the touch and arm strength to get it deep. He looks comfortable and refined. He’s also surprisingly athletic at 6-4 and 215lbs — he’s elusive to avoid pressure but also a nifty runner in the open field. Goff isn’t Russell Wilson, but if there’s a chance to scramble into space and make a first down he’ll do it.

Is he accurate? Sure. He doesn’t force anything and avoids turnovers. He seems to understand the offense — he doesn’t bail on the call in the face of pressure and know how to be patient in the pocket. There’s a lot to like and very little to quibble about.

He reminded me a little bit of Brock Osweiler. It’s easy to sit here and assume Osweiler is a failure considering he hasn’t played any meaningful football in three-and-a-bit seasons. He was, after all, taken in round two ahead of Russell Wilson who’s been to two Super Bowls in the same period of time. However, Osweiler has been stuck behind Peyton Manning with zero chance of supplanting the incumbent starter.

He may get his chance next season (although he would require a new contract in Denver). John Elway liked him enough to draft him in the early second round as a project and he played pretty well in pre-season.

Like Goff he’s tall and thin with surprising mobility. Osweiler frequently avoided pressure and made gains with his legs. He threw with poise and accuracy in the face of pressure and made several ‘wow’ throws for Arizona State. We’re yet to see Goff deliver some of those same money throws — but there’s still time in 2015. Osweiler threw some of the prettiest passes you’ll see — right into tiny windows under pressure. It’s easy to forget three years on.

Both players also failed (so far in Goff’s case) to propel their team to a new level. Osweiler constantly flashed talent and then made costly mistakes in key games. It wasn’t always turnovers either — drives would stall unnecessarily. He wasn’t a room-tilter or a game-changer in college. He was simply a really talented individual with huge potential.

Goff’s Cal career has followed a similar path — although the supporting cast hasn’t been great. They’re currently 3-0 in a wide open PAC-12 and maybe he’ll be able to elevate his team and therefore his own draft stock in the process? Osweiler was a second-round pick in a year for quarterbacks that included Luck, RGIII, Tannehill, Weeden and Wilson. Goff won’t have that level of competition and could, even by default, find himself in the day-one mix with a good season. Right now a safe second-round grade seems appropriate, just like Osweiler, with a chance to rise.

Keep an eye on North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz. We highlighted him at the start of the season as one to watch. He’s a small school prospect who could really propel his stock (much in the way Joe Flacco did at Delaware or Jimmy Garoppolo at Eastern Illinois).

He’s 6-6 and 235lbs but runs the read-option. Like Goff he’s a surprisingly nimble runner and the QB-keeper is a regular feature in the NDS offense. There’s an awful lot to like about his throwing style — again it’s very natural. He has a good arm, throws with touch when necessary and makes a lot of plays.

There are some issues too. He doesn’t always scan the field like he should do — in the tape below there’s a play where he throws underneath with a wide open receiver streaking downfield for an easy touchdown. Wentz never even looks at him and just goes to his first read. This is the type of thing he’d need to work on at the next level — but it’s fixable.

In a down year for the position don’t be surprised if Wentz ends up being the top rated senior QB.


  1. Volume12

    It’s funny you bring up Goff Rob. I was going to ask you what you thought of him. IMO him and Kessler are the most pro-ready QBs right now. I think Goff goes in round 1 somewhere.

    While it’s true his supporting cast aren’t ‘world beaters’ so to speak, he does have 2 good ones. WR Kenny Lawler has some amazing hand strength and catch radius. And this other guy has found his way onto my radar. TE/WR Stephen Anderson who is Devin Funchess ‘lite.’ 6’3, 230 lbs., gritty, hard-working kid who was a walk on and has a ton of potential. Maybe a better comp is Washington’s Jordan Reed.

    • Rob Staton

      Kessler just doesn’t wow me. Lot of underneath stuff, screens, short stuff. USC wins with YAC not because Kessler flings it around the park. He’s toolsy but just looks like a backup level QB for the NFL IMO.

      • Volume12

        Good points. Maybe a better game managing version of Mark Sanchez huh?

        What do you think of Jacoby Brissett? I see a guy that has all the athleticism and potential in the world, but lacks ‘between the ears’ stuff and a pocket presence.

        • Rob Staton

          A fair assessment of Brissett. I like him. Physically everything is there. Lots of potential. But I’m unsure if the game will ever ‘slow down’ for him at the next level. A nice project for someone, mind.

          • Volume12

            Nice to know we’re on the same page with Brissett.

            Have you thought about maybe doing a piece on some O-lineman that could potentially be available to Seattle in the 1st or 2nd rounds? Or any round for that matter.

    • DC

      Nothing personal but I hope Goff and the Bears get beat on Saturday.

  2. Volume12

    Speaking of defensive lines. Penn St DT Austin Johnson (6’3-6’4, 320 lbs) is a monster! I think this kid is an athletic freak, with the production to match. He’s immovable at the POA. If anyone gets a chance, check out his backstory. Definition of a hard worker. He’s got quickness, length, and will have graduated in 3.5 years come December.

    • CHawk Talker Eric

      Paul Perkins is getting some love from PFF. #2 rated RB last week @ +7.7 (behind Fournette with +8.5). Perkins ran for 219 yds vs BYU, including 178 YAC and 10 missed tackles.

      • Volume12

        I like him. Very intriguing. One of my favorite backs in CFB. More of a mid rounder, but he’s worth monitoring.

        I think there’s something to Devontae Booker though. I’m liking him more and more as the season goes on and watching his interviews, learning about his backstory, etc. His ability to cut back is unreal. I’ll say it again, dude runs hard.

        There’s some very solid/good backs this year. Next year are the special/great ones.

        • Volume12

          178 YAC and 10 missed tackles!? Against a defense like BYU? Whoo! That is exciting my man.

  3. CHawk Talker Eric

    Wentz reminds me of (Auburn Tiger) Cam Newton. Surprisingly agile in space.

    In addition to a nice throwing motion, he’s able to make the occasional side arm toss through traffic with zip and accuracy. He doesn’t fluster easily. Weber St threw a lot of blitzes at him; much of the time he threw under intense pressure right off the snap. He was pretty quick with his 1st read, and delivered the ball well enough to be caught in most instances.

    It’s a bit odd to watch someone half a foot taller than RW run essentially the same offense.

    I agree with V12. If Goff can maintain his level of play, some team will take him in R1.

  4. Trevor

    I have really liked Wentz since Rob first mentioned him at the beginning of the year. I was hoping he would be a mid round sleeper who we could nab an develop behind Russ but it looks like he is starting to grab national attention now so will likely move up. Certainly has all the tools.

  5. Volume12

    Rob, I know me, you, trevor, and a couple others are huge fans of Auburn’s Shon Coleman. But I was curious about your thought on Auburn’s Avery Young?

  6. rowdy

    Rob, I know it’s way off for you but could you look at jake browning from UW at some point this season? I know he’s a true freshmen QB but as a huge huskies fan, I’m sure a lot of us are, I’m really interested in your views on him. I’m seeing a lot of promise in him so far. He seems to progress nicely every week so far. I would really appreciate if you could! I only ask because I respect you’re assessment a lot.

    • Rob Staton

      Sure will do. Not had access to any Washington games yet.

  7. Volume12

    I’m liking that Mehdi Abdesmad for BC. 6’7, 282 lbs. Discount version of Shawn Oakman?

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