Jared Goff vs. Carson Wentz: NFL Draft Stock Comparison


Jared Goff vs. Carson Wentz: Comparing the NFL Draft stock of two quarterbacks with plenty to prove.


Finding a franchise quarterback in a weak class like this 2016 group is a bit like trying to find a date for New Year’s Eve. At the end of the day, you’re going to pick somebody if only to say you have one. 
That’s the nature of game for NFL general managers nowadays. The window for success is so small, it stresses the mindset of reaching on a quarterback early because “you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” 
Both Jared Goff and Carson Wentz have tremendous ability, but neither one has “franchise quarterback” written across his forehead. Still, it’s a matter of supply and demand, and both are being viewed through the lens of team saviors.
One, if not both, will be selected within the first 10 picks. So here’s a breakdown of their NFL Draft stocks and how they’re trending following the combine.


Health

Goff

Cal head coach Sonny Dykes knew exactly what he had in Goff, who started all three years with the Golden Bears. In 2013, Goff became the first quarterback in school history to start as a true freshman, and he made a regular appearance on Saturdays. He started all 37 games he played in with Cal. Even when he rolled his ankle against Texas this past season, Goff went right back out the following week to lead his team to a win over Washington. There are no health concerns with the former Golden Bear.

Wentz

After taking a redshirt in 2011, Wentz saw action in just 19 games as a backup during his first two years of action. In 2014 the tide turned and Wentz started all 16 games for North Dakota State. As a redshirt senior in 2015, Wentz started the first six games but broke his right wrist and missed the next eight games. It would be more comforting for NFL teams if the injury was buried further in the past, but his wrist looked pretty solid at the NFL Combine. There’s no reason to believe he’ll be hampered moving forward. 


Measurements

Physically, both players have the components general managers look for in a quarterback. Wentz does have a slight edge in height and in arm length. He also roughly possesses a 20-pound advantage, which aids his tendency to take off out of the pocket and beat defenders with his legs. 

The issue with Goff is his hand size. There are always exceptions to the rule (Aaron Rodgers, Tony Romo, et al.), but Goff does have smaller hands than most teams would have preferred. Having nine-inch hands leads to questions of ball security, and throwing in cold weather when gripping the football isn’t as easy a task as it normally is. Still, Goff did fine launching the ball the last three years, and it won’t affect him at the next level.

Production

This is more of a contrast than a comparison. Goff started all three years at Cal, while Wentz had an entire year to learn the offense when he took a redshirt in 2011. Despite this, Wentz saw action in 43 games compared to Goff’s 37, though the numbers aren’t even close. 

Wentz did set single-season school records for passing attempts, completions, yards, and total offense per game in 2014.  However, Goff’s resume is far more impressive. The Cal record books are filled with his name (he owns 26 program records, to be exact). He broke Pac-12 career records with an average of 326.6 yards of total offense per game as well as three seasons of gaining 3,000 or more total yards. The only Golden Bear with a higher career passing efficiency is Aaron Rodgers — not bad company to be in.  


Player Comparisons

Goff

There seems to be a consensus opinion that Goff most resembles Atlanta Falcons’ Matt Ryan, and that’s a spot on description. Both are tall with slim builds and possess a gunslinger mentality. However, that isn’t to say Goff is the next Ryan. A better diagnosis would be to say he has the build of Rich Gannon, with a similar bounce in the pocket and delivery to Drew Brees. Oh, and he has Ryan’s arm. 

Wentz

Wentz’s ability to use his legs has led some to believe he mimics Ben Roethlisberger or even Blake Bortles. Saying he’s comparable to “Big Ben” is a bit of a reach. The Bortles frame is more fitting for Wentz. He has a big arm like Bortles and a similar delivery. When he gets out of the pocket and heads upfield, Wentz is reminiscent of Tim Tebow in the way he carries the ball and takes on defenders. 


Best Team Fits

Goff

More than a few teams are in need of a quarterback in this draft. That’s been established. And a few teams would love to tack on the free-throwing Goff. Cleveland, San Francisco, Houston and Los Angeles are all mulling the idea of taking a passer in the first round. 

If you follow football at all, you know the Browns have a mess on their hands with Johnny Manziel. The 49ers and Colin Kaepernick are still on shaky footing, and Chip Kelly going is never going to hand the keys to Blaine Gabbert. The Texans’ quarterback situation is non-existent, and the Rams are moving on from Nick Foles. 
The best fit, though, has to be in Los Angeles. Goff would have Todd Gurley as a crutch out of the backfield. Tavon Austin could also help Goff get into a rhythm by being a safety blanket for easy short passes in the screen game. 

Wentz

Scouts are impressed by his arm strength and size, and all the same teams with interest in Goff are the ones taking a long, hard look at Wentz. The benefits of being selected by the Rams are the exact same, but the best fit for the former Bison quarterback would have to be with San Francisco. 

Kelly’s uptempo offense would allow Wentz to use his legs, and it would create more running room for Carlos Hyde in the process. Torrey Smith could give Wentz the deep threat he needs to flash the arm and stretch the field. Divisionally, it’s tough to go up against the defensive units of Seattle and Arizona twice a year, but his game fits best with the 49ers and Kelly’s schemes. 


Projection

Jared Goff – No. 1 overall, Los Angeles Rams

Carson Wentz – No. 2 overall, Cleveland Browns

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