This time last year, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota were the talk of NFL draft circles. So far, the first and second overall picks have fared well in the NFL. Both have 1-2 records as starters, but Winston looks sharp despite the rest of the Bucs being a tire fire and Mariota has already set or tied several rookie passing records. The Bucs and the Titans got their quarterbacks of the future, but what about teams that are looking for a quarterback in next year’s draft?
If the draft were held tomorrow, the Chicago Bears would hold the first overall pick. Jay Cutler is a terrible quarterback and he’s currently out with an injury, meaning Jimmy Clausen is the starter. Yeah, that’s a bad situation. So where do Bears fans look for hope? To college football of course!
All offseason, we heard about the trio of Big 10 quarterbacks who were locks to be first round picks: Christian Hackenberg at Penn State, Connor Cook at Michigan State and Cardale Jones at Ohio State. Each has NFL size and arm talent, but so far in 2015, none of these prospects has impressed that much. Hackenberg struggled last season with abysmal talent around him and so far, Penn State doesn’t look to have improved much around him. Cook has lead Michigan State to the most wins of the three quartebacks, but has to improve his vision and pocket presence. Jones led Ohio State to the national championship last season, but can’t seem to firmly lock down the starting quarterback job and J.T. Barrett is creeping around him hungrily like the shark from Jaws, just waiting for his opportunity.
But don’t fret Bears fans! There is a guy in college football who has the looks of a future first overall pick!
That guy is Jared Goff from California.
Rated as a 4-star prospect out of high school, Goff was the 15th best pro-style quarterback in the nation per the 247 Sports Composite rankings. He only had offers from Cal, Oregon State and Boise State and committed to the Golden Bears. Surprisingly, Goff was named the starter as a true freshman over redshirt freshman and fellow 4-star prospect Zach Kline. He struggled in his freshman season and finished with an 18-11 TD/INT ratio as Cal limped to a 1-11 record.
Sophomore year, Goff began to light up the scoreboard. He finished with a 35-7 TD/INT ratio and helped Cal improve to 5-7. At this point, he was still highly underrated compared to other quarterbacks who had led their teams to more victories, but Cal wasn’t exactly a recruiting powerhouse. The talent around Goff has been mediocre, but he still has managed to put up amazing numbers at quarterback.
So far in 2015, Cal is 4-0 and Goff has a 11-3 TD/INT ratio. Goff has easily been the most impressive quarterback prospect this season. He has NFL size (6-4, 215) and a great arm with a very fluid throwing motion. He has very good pocket presence and shows an impressive ability to work through his progressions while under pressure, something that separates a good quarterback prospect from a great one. In my opinion, Goff’s best trait his his deep ball and he can absolutely throw them on the money.
While it’s still early in the season, Jared Goff is clearly the best quarterback prospect so far. He has a chance to put some special numbers on the board and lead Cal to their first bowl game since 2011. Bears fans should be drooling and Redskins, Jets, Texans, and Browns should embrace the losing mentality to get the first overall pick.