The last time California had a player drafted with the number one overall pick in the NFL Draft was 1975. Quarterback Steve Bartowski was chosen by the Atlanta Falcons to be the new franchise quarterback with the first pick in the draft that year. Since then, Cal has had three other quarterbacks chosen in the first round by an NFL team, and one more could be added to that legacy next spring. Jared Goff, although still a junior, is being evaluated by NFL Draft scouts and is widely considered to be one of the top quarterbacks in the 2016 NFL Draft if he comes out a year early. He might even be the first quarterback off the board.
Goff is currently ranked as the second-best quarterback in the 2016 NFL Draft pool by CBS Sports. Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch is currently the top-rated passer in the draft rankings. Other top quarterbacks many expect to be in the draft are Michigan State’s Connor Cook and Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg. Cook has been a rock-solid player for the Spartans and has more big wins than any other potential passer. Hackenberg may still have some skill, but has seen his draft stock diminish over the past year-and-a-half under a new offensive system. For Goff, all of the skills appear to be in place, which is why draft experts are expecting good things out of him at the next level. The only question about Goff focuses on Cal’s offensive system. Are Goff’s numbers legit, or a product of the system?READ MORE: Trevor Noah To Host 'The 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards' On CBS
“There is no denying that Goff’s production is inflated due to coach Sonny Dykes’ up-tempo spread offense, which provides the quarterback the ball out of shotgun and quick passes to the perimeter,” Rob Rang says of Goff on CBSSports.com. “That said, Goff shows many of the traits scouts are looking for in a pro-style quarterback, including impressive accuracy on in-cutting routes in the short, intermediate and deep levels, the courage to stand in the pocket and enough functional mobility to buy time.”
The word is getting out about Goff. Andy Benoit of Monday Morning Quarterback recently reviewed film of Goff for the first time, and he came away impressed.READ MORE: 'Video Music Box' Founder, Hip Hop Influencer Ralph McDaniels Shares His Journey In New Showtime Documentary: 'This Music Is Really Powerful'
“Watching him carve the Cougars, the phrase ‘similarities to Andrew Luck’ went in my notes multiple times,” Benoit said. “Unaware of the rest of the college football landscape, I can’t say whether Goff deserves to be the first pick in next year’s draft; but I can say that having studied almost every snap of each NFL quarterback this season, Goff irrefutably projects to stardom.”
Comparisons to Luck are quite positive, even if the former Stanford Cardinal star is having some struggles in Indianapolis this season. There is no doubt Goff is going to be drafted in the first round barring a complete collapse this season. Some NFL franchise is going to hope he is ready to be the face of its franchise, just as former Cal quarterback Aaron Rodgers is in Green Bay. Rodgers was also drafted in the first round in the 2005 draft, although his slide remains one of the biggest oddities of the NFL Draft in more recent history. Chances are Goff may not have to wait so long, because he would be one of the bigger fish in the shallow pond of quarterbacks in the 2016 NFL Draft.MORE NEWS: UPDATE: San Jose Homicide Suspects Released Without Posting Bail; Cops Tweet 'The System Has Failed'
Kevin McGuire is a Philadelphia area sports writer covering the Philadelphia Eagles and college football. McGuire is a member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. Follow McGuire on Twitter @KevinOnCFB. His work can be found on Examiner.com.