Headed into the NFL Combine next month Jared Goff has emerged as the top QB in the 2016 NFL Draft. Goff lit up PAC-12 defenses all year throwing for 4,719 yards and 43 TDs last season has put him in a good position to be a top five pick in the draft and likely the first quarterback off the board. Goff has been compared to Eli Manning and Aaron Rodgers and has great footwork and a big arm.
But trying to project where Goff will go is up in the air. The Titans are sitting at #1 but after picking Marcus Mariota last year Tennessee won’t be going QB two years in a row. The Browns are at #2 and will likely go for a QB with their first round pick after the Johnny Manziel project flamed out in Cleveland. If the Titans don’t trade down the Browns will have their pick of all the QBs and Goff will probably be there guy.
Quarterbacks are valued at a premium in the NFL and if a team falls in love with Goff the Titans would be interested to hear all likely offers since they need picks to rebuild their roster. By trading back in the first round Tennessee could still grab someone like Laquon Treadwell, Laremy Tunsil, or Jalen Ramsey to fill a hole with a day one starter. With the Browns at #2 Tennessee has a lot of leverage because it’s almost a given that Cleveland will take Goff and any team that wants the best QB on the board will have to come up to #1 to get him.
Dallas needs a QB and you never know what Jerry Jones will do on draft day. The Cowboys have Tony Romo under center but last year he missed a big chunk of the season with an injury. If Jones decides Goff is the QB of the future for his team he won’t have too far to trade up in the draft. He will still have to give away a lot to jump up in the draft but he won’t have to give up as much as the Texans who are sitting at #22 who also need help at QB. Dallas could give up their first and second round pick combined with their #1 for 2017 to jump up three spots to get Goff.
Another team that is reportedly in the market for a quarterback is New Orleans. Drew Brees is 37 years old and heading into the last year of his contract. If the Saints want to make a move for the future trading up for Goff could be the way to go. New Orleans really needs help at linebacker and in the secondary but drafting a QB would be a good way to get ready for life post-Drew Brees.
The 49ers also have a question mark at QB. With Chip Kelly coming to the Bay area Colin Kaepernick could get a chance to become a star again in his system. But if Kelly decides he wants to go in a different direction the Niners could be a team that tries to jump up from #7 to get Goff. Goff went to Cal and would be a big draw in a market that is desperate to not only win but sell tickets in a big new stadium. By jumping up to get Goff the 49ers would show their fans they are committed to winning and they will also draw interest from local fans who watched him play 30 minutes down the road at Berkley.
Jay Cutler is in the last year of his contract in Chicago. Cutler has done well when he’s stayed healthy but he often has had to play behind a bad offensive line and never had a chance to get going. The Bears pick just outside of the top ten at #11. Chicago would have to mortgage the farm if they wanted to go get Goff to sit for a year behind Cutler before taking over in 2017. Even if the Bears tank in 2016 the fans will have hope with the big armed #1 pick ready to take over once Cutler is gone.
The Texans desperately need a quarterback but being so far back at #22 and in the same division as the Titans it’s not likely they will be able to make a deal to bring Goff to Houston.
There is still plenty of time before the draft actually takes place in April. Goff could blow scouts away in Indianapolis or someone like Paxton Lynch or Carson Wentz could jump up the draft boards. We’ll have to stay tuned to see how it plays out.