Quantifying Quarterbacks: Jared Goff Isn’t Here to Save a Franchise


Do not die on hills. Jared Goff is one of the most disgusting instances of analysts propping up an undeserving player, and many seem to be incredibly strong-willed about it. Heck, Goff has fielded top five grades from some people.

By: Derrik Klassen

Part of the problem seems to be that there is a fear of being wrong, or that we were wrong at some point in the past. In other words, Goff went into the year being propped up as a young passer with first round ability, assuming he could put on some weight, add some juice to his arm and become more accurate. He has not really done any of those things, but people are afraid to admit that maybe- just maybe- we were wrong in hyping him up.

It’s okay to be wrong. I, of all people, can attest to that. Christian Hackenberg looked like a star his freshman year and I bought in. A new staff was ushered in his sophomore year and everything began to fall apart, and I still held on. In his junior year now, Hackenberg looks to be in shambles and I’ve finally let go and accepted he’s not what I thought he was. Goff is masquerading himself as this type of player and there needs to be a collective epiphany to realize that he just does not have NFL traits, for the most part.

NFL scouts do not like him like many seem to think. Sure, that was also true of Teddy Bridgewater, but Bridgewater was a superior prospect with a trump card (seemingly unlimited mental capacity). Goff does not have any sort of trump card. In fact, there are a handful of areas in which Goff would have to be the “exception to the rule” of in order to be good.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsAt best, Goff has been playing at about 6’3”, 215 pounds, and even that weight estimate could be a tad lofty. The lack of weight is noticeable just through a simple eye test, as well. His limbs lack bulk and he generally looks like a thin, wiry guy. We like to disregard this sort of thing, but let’s be real, it matters when 260-310 pound defensive linemen are barreling down at him at full speed.

Assuming someone of below-average frame will withstand NFL punishment while guys like Ben Roethlisberger and Andrew Luck have struggled to keep themselves on the field this year is quite risky. Of course, this is without mention of Goff’s reportedly small hands, which plays a part in why his arm looks so poor a majority of the time. When a poor grip on the ball is coupled with a light frame, the ball is seldom going to fly like it should.

Furthermore, Goff’s footwork does him no favors. Oddly enough, Goff’s footwork is highlighted as one of his best areas. In reality, his feet are not good. He chops his feet a lot and is constantly resetting, but he is doing so in such a frantic, uncoordinated manner that he is doing more harm than help. Many point to Peyton Manning, but he was, well, Peyton Manning. Manning understood exactly what he was doing, whereas Goff seems to be trying to ready himself for the play to blow up, which only leads him to manically creating a poor base for himself to throw from. Goff does get to the top of his drop very efficiently and that can not be stripped from him, but there is a wild misconception that all that movement he does when trying to settle in is helping him. It is not.

Goff’s mental process isn’t quite the positive that many believe it to be. Goff isn’t dumb, don’t get me wrong, but he is not asked to do much. That is an issue in itself, not to mention Goff skips over the best read on a play more often than is spoken about. Typically, this is a result of Goff eyeballing a boundary throw and deciding to turn away because he does not have the velocity to make the throw. Many would call this intelligence, but on film, these throws look completable by most every NFL quarterback. Goff isn’t turning away from these throws out of brilliance, it is out of inability. Goff does a good job of understanding where zones should be open and that minimizes how often he gets caught staring at tight windows, though he is often waiting on these as opposed to coming upon them through a progression.

Though, one-read or four-reads, Goff has to get the ball to his receiver. Over the intermediate area of the field, Goff actually seems to throw rather well, especially over the middle. When going deep, Goff’s throws tend to hang quite a bit, though they fly well enough for receivers with good tracking ability to run them down (for Goff, that guy is Kenny Lawler). On occasion, he blesses his receiver with a perfect “drop in the bucket” type throw. Though, throwing to shorter areas of the field is a struggle fest for Goff. He leaves ‘curls’ and ‘slants’ too high, earholes his targets on ‘drag’ routes and misses nearly every single short ‘out’ route that he throws.

His inaccuracy on those short ‘outs’ is a spectacle, really. Some fly high and outside, while others land near the player’s heels. One way or another, he finds a way to let the pass hit the ground instead of his receiver’s hands.

The best comparison for Goff’s arm is Tajh Boyd’s. Boyd showed velocity over the middle and threw the same hanging vertical routes. Boyd also had issues completing some of the more routine throws in his offense, leaving it up to guys like DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins to save his skin. Now, Boyd is not a full player comparison for Goff, but he does has a similar arm. In case you were wondering, Boyd is playing in Canada.

The funny thing about Goff is that his highlight plays actually look really good. His “best” plays make him look like an absolute superstar. He has flashes of pocket movement and ball placement that just seem absurd. The quandary is that “superstar Goff” rarely shows his face. Some will want to bank on Goff stabilizing his play to play like that more often, but that would be assuming Goff “learns” how to be more instinctual on a more consistent basis. Learning something like instincts should never be expected of a player.


The fact of the matter is that Goff is who he is, and that mediocre player he is, is going to make stellar throws on occasion. Those few throws will coax you into paying more attention to him, but they lie to you. That isn’t who Goff normally is, and to assume he can miraculously become that version of himself full-time is ludicrous.

Goff is tough to pin a grade on. Saying he is not even worth a top 50 pick seems harsh because of the standard he was held to coming into the year, but it may be true. The arm, frame, gamer-mentality and overall accuracy simply are not there. He is smart enough and isn’t the dunce versus pressure that he once was, but he lacks any singular trait that teams can point to and say, “Yeah, I believe Goff can be a good quarterback for us because of this _____.” It hurts to say that, it does.

We all want good quarterbacks to come into the league. Though, we can’t convince ourselves that mediocre ones are not mediocre simply because we are that desperate. Goff is the sort of guy you take on outside of the first two rounds and work with as a stable, smart backup who may be a good enough starter to not outright lose games. He isn’t here to save a franchise.

Interesting Data (based on 313 attempt sample):

  • 65/313 (20.77%) of Goff’s throws are screens.
  • 39/77 (50.65%) of Goff’s 3rd/4th down attempts were completed and converted a 1st down.
  • Goff has 34 charted ‘explosive’ plays (25+ yards), in contrast to 14 ‘loss’ plays (turnover or loss of yards).
  • Goff has targeted Kenny Lawler (WR No.4) 66 times in 313 charted attempts (21.09% target rate). 42 of those passes were completed (63.64% of completion).
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