clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

All signs point to the Rams drafting Jared Goff

The Rams say they haven't decided whether they'll take Cal's Jared Goff or North Dakota State's Carson Wentz, but reading between the lines and listening to what others in the NFL are saying, it becomes clear there's only one choice.

No surprise that the Rams have gone Hollywood.

You can't bolt to Los Angeles -- again -- like the Rams franchise has and not bring bling. Their brash and costly move to the top of the NFL Draft signals all things tinsel and thirsty. They were the Cleveland Rams in 1936, the L.A. Rams in 1946, the St. Louis Rams in 1995 and back to L.A. now, eager for another makeover.

They bring an ugly string of nine consecutive losing seasons with four of those seasons gaining a pitiful three or fewer victories. Jeff Fisher arrived as Rams head coach four seasons ago and has gone 7-8-1, 7-9, 6-10 and 7-9.

Fisher is using words like "getting over the top" and becoming "significant." The Rams believe drafting a franchise quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick on April 28 is the way to do both.

For every person insisting they draft Cal quarterback Jared Goff, another contends they must select North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz.

One of these quarterbacks will prove better than the other one.

How do the Rams get it right?

* * *

It was a different Rams regime in 2010 when the franchise drafted quarterback Sam Bradford first overall. He was the savior -- until he wasn't, exiled and now in Philadelphia. A team should not be selecting another franchise quarterback with the No. 1 pick six years apart, but this is the Rams' lot.

It is possibly just the fifth time since 1998 that quarterbacks will be selected 1-2 at the top of the draft. Goff and Wentz are luring that level of interest.

In 1998, the 1-2 pair was Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf. In 1999 it was Tim Couch and Donovan McNabb. In 2012 it was Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. Last year it was Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota.

Goff or Wentz?

"I think they take Goff," said veteran NFL personnel analyst Gil Brandt. "I think Philadelphia has some inside knowledge. I think Philadelphia wants Wentz and will try to move up to No. 2 in a trade with Cleveland to get him and wouldn't be moving that way if they didn't think the Rams will draft Goff. I don't think the Philadelphia owner (Jeffrey Lurie) flew 1,500 miles to have dinner with Wentz in North Dakota just for nothing. Goff is a better fit for the Rams. Wentz going from a small school and small town to L.A. is a real culture shock. Goff fits better on the big scene. I just have that feeling. And I think Goff starts this year for the Rams."

A longtime NFL scout, requesting anonymity, says Wentz is the Rams' clear choice.

"The Rams have to put eyeballs and butts in seats," the scout said. "They've got a pretty good defense. They've got a running game. They have receivers. They need a talent at quarterback that they can surround and build on. Wentz has the mobility and athleticism you need in the league right now. He can put the ball into tight places. He can throw the ball to the opposite hash with spin on it. But the big thing is he can run, he can escape and extend plays. He is the modern NFL guy at quarterback. He's their guy."

You can poke holes all day in either position or player.

Goff is not fleet afoot. Goff has smaller hands, which can be an issue for passing in cold and wet weather. Wentz did not play against the stiffest college competition. Wentz may find it difficult assimilating to the NFL and to L.A.

How do the Rams get it right?

* * *

If the intelligence and talent are nearly equal -- and most scouts say they are between Goff and Wentz -- then personality, tastes and specific need rise.

"I think the Rams have focused on the systems these quarterbacks ran and what kind of guys they are," an NFL head coach said, requesting anonymity. "They must have spent a lot of time talking to these quarterbacks' teammates. That's what I would have done. I want to know not just the player I'm getting, I want to know the person, the makeup. You spend a ton of time with each one to learn that. But his teammates know that better than anyone."

Let's get back to Fisher's desire for the Rams to get over the top and become significant.

The Rams hunger to do that is sooner rather than later. They need to plug this quarterback in and let him rip.

That says Goff.