Let’s be clear that I’m not high on Jared Goff. I don’t like his tape. I don’t like his physical size. I don’t like his collegiate career. In three years, the team’s record was 1-11, 5-7, then 8-5 with a win in the Armed Force Bowl game. 14-23 as a starter in college.
That’s three wins against non-major conference teams, two more against the Mountain West, no wins against any ranked teams, and a 7-20 record against the Pac-12. While many of us can say Cal had a bad supporting cast and I normally support that argument, there’s less reason to take that seriously because in college, the talent level is so different that a great quarterback can still have a winning team around him because of the amount of talent he had.
I think Carson Wentz is the better quarterback and I think the Rams should take him for football reasons.
Being perfectly honest, neither one is a slam dunk. Multiple analysts and scouts have pointed out that both guys are going to be project players. They are hardly ready to step in day one and play. Under ordinary circumstances, Goff probably would’ve returned for his senior season at Cal but he was the “best quarterback” per se in a weak; very weak draft class.
The Rams do need a quarterback, yes. The quarterback position is the most important position easily, yes. So the Rams trades two first, two second, and two third round draft picks for the top overall pick of the 2016 draft. But the wise football decision would’ve been to wait for Paxton Lynch to drop or to clear cap space and sign Ryan Fitzpatrick as a stop gap and try to compete.
However, the NFL isn’t always run by men making decisions based on football reasons. NFL owners have two objectives with their teams. The primary one is to make money and the secondary one is to win. Winning does achieve both because fans spend more money to watch a winning team vs. a perpetual loser.
However, owners and marketing analysts don’t know how to make a winning football team, but they know how to make money. For example, when they see a star free agent, they don’t know how to predict an NFL future or see how a scheme problem could happen. But they make the move anyway and they hope for the best because they feel that making a move like signing a free agent will tell fans that “Hey! The team is trying to win! This is a reason to go to the games!”
That’s not a smart way to do football, but in many cases, it is a way to make money. Now the Los Angeles Rams haven’t taken this approach with free agency, but they have with the draft. Because one of the best ways to get fans excited about a new team is to get a prospective star at quarterback. Now, they have their option of Carson Wentz or Jared Goff.
The odds and a lot of the insiders think it’s going to be Goff. I didn’t understand why until my brain sent me the update that I’m still not used to saying. The Rams are now in Los Angeles. After years of covering the game, I’m just used to the Rams being in St. Louis.
So, when it dawned on me finally that they’re in Los Angeles, that’s when Goff to Rams made complete sense from the marketing perspective and I think what the Rams and the NFL are trying to do is try to appeal to the city of L.A. more so than strategically build the roster.
L.A. is the second largest market in the country and the NFL is determined to tap into the wallets of that metropolitan area. Except it is not a slam dunk since football has failed there before. One major challenge, speaking of slam dunks, is that L.A. is a basketball city devoted to the Lakers.*
Another is LA certainly has packs of people who are Raiders, Chargers, and 49ers fans due to proximity; especially the Raiders who won a championship there in 1983. There is definitely a “Black Hole” of Silver and Black fans there. A third challenge is the Rams are not a great team, they are middle of the pack in a tough division. By drafting Goff, the Rams can potentially address all three.
*Fortunately for the NFL, the Lakers have just seen their franchise legend Kobe Bryant retire and they are coming off an 11-71 season.
The NFL would ideally want the Rams to win the NFC West or a wildcard in a fantastic fun season that gets fans to come to the games, buy jerseys, and set up roots as the money rolls in. If Goff manages to impress and win a starting job, then it helps the Rams financial position even more.
Jared Goff, the Golden Bear from the University of California, is already a known product in Los Angeles. NFL fans commonly watch college football as well. People in California have watched and many have been fans of Goff for years now. Even the Pac-12 fans that were rivals of Cal will still know and appreciate Goff in L.A.
NFL teams normally don’t care where their players come from. An NFL team would sign Santa Claus if he can play offensive tackle. The thing is that this isn’t the normal situation. The Rams are about to begin their first season in Los Angeles, which hasn’t had pro football in almost 30 years. A star quarterback from a home state university gives the fans someone to connect to. An extra incentive per say because people identify with their collegiate stars. The Rams will at least get the city of Berkeley behind them.
If Goff busts, it could be back to the drawing board, but until he does bust (or perhaps he doesn’t), then the NFL can use his status to help bring in fans and make the Rams more profitable. It may not be the best football move (I definitely don’t think it is) but it’s what I think will happen.
Of course, if Carson Wentz’s name is said on April 28, then this theory goes out the window.