In recent weeks, various NFL analysts have appeared on CBS Sports Radio arguing that Carson Wentz is clearly the top quarterback prospect in this year’s draft. Others, meanwhile, have argued that it’s clearly Jared Goff. This is a matter of opinion, of course, but the only opinion that matters is that of the Los Angeles Rams.
So, what do we know about the Rams’ mindset heading into the draft next week?
“We know they’re taking a quarterback,” CBS Sports NFL Draft senior analyst Dane Brugler said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I think that’s really all we know at this point. They’re being coy with their intentions. They’re saying they don’t know for sure which quarterback they’re going to draft at that No. 1 spot. Right now, they’re entertaining Carson Wentz, but they still obviously have interest in Jared Goff. I believe they know exactly who they’re taking. You don’t package all those picks and move up to the No. 1 spot without having at least a clear favorite in your mind.”
Indeed, the Rams sent six high draft picks to the Titans – two first-rounders, two second-rounders and two third-rounders – for the right to draft a quarterback first overall.
In the end, Brugler believes the Rams will take Goff.
“I think he’s the best quarterback in this class,” Brugler said. “Carson Wentz, I think, projects as an NFL starter, but there are just more questions with Carson. Obviously coming from the FCS level, making that jump to the NFL, it’s quite a jump and it’s hard tor really figure out how that speed of the game will affect him. So for me, Jared Goff will go No. 1, and I think we’re going to see a quarterback go No. 2. The big question is, to which team? Cleveland currently owns that No. 2 pick, but I think there’s a very good chance we see another trade for a team going up to get that No. 2 pick and trying to fill that quarterback need.”
In comparing the two quarterbacks, Brugler believes Wentz has the physical advantage, while Goff has the mental advantage.
“Well, Wentz gets the edge in terms of the physical traits,” Brugler said. “He’s bigger at 6-5, 235 pounds. He also has more of a power arm that you traditionally see at the NFL level. So physically, Carson Wentz gets the edge. I think they both received high marks in terms of their mental capacity, their ability to retain information, execute on the field – but I think it translates better with Goff. I think that’s what gives him the edge overall, for me, is his ability to anticipate (and) throw receivers open. That’s something we just don’t really see from 21-year-old passers coming from the college level. We saw it a little bit with Jameis Winston. I think that’s a big reason he went No. 1 last year, and I think it’s why, for me at least, Jared Goff is the clear-cut No. 1 quarterback this year. That pass anticipation, his ability to manipulate the pocket, keep his eyes downfield and anticipate those throwing windows – that’s what gives Goff the edge and (it’s something) I think Carson Went will struggle with. I think there will be a little bit of a learning curve as he goes through his progressions and figures out the speed of the NFL game. He doesn’t yet have a good grasp of that pass anticipation. That’s why we’re going to see, I think, Goff find some early success, (whereas) Wentz (will have) a little more of a learning curve.”