NFL Draft Grades 2016: Rams get an A- for drafting Jared Goff No. 1

With the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Rams select Cal quarterback Jared Goff.

CBS Sports' Pete Prisco approves of the pick:

"A- They made the move up to get the passer, and they got the right one."

In Los Angeles, Goff will have the benefit of handing the ball to Todd Gurley. Unfortunately, the rest of the offensive situation is bleak. Pro Football Focus graded the Rams' offensive line as the 28th best line last season. Tavon Austin is a special player in space, but the Rams haven't figured out a way to turn him into a consistent playmaker. And, oh yeah, as the newest NFC West quarterback, Goff will be forced to go up against defenses like the Seahawks' Legion of Boom.

Somewhere, Richard Sherman is already dreaming of feasting on the rookie.

Still, Goff should feel fortunate he's not in a place like Cleveland. The Rams aren't an awful team, they're middling. And if Goff lives up to the hype -- he shares similarities with Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan -- the Rams could contend for a playoff spot.

Goff doesn't have a cannon for an arm. He's a lanky 6-foot-4, even if he's bulked up substantially in the past year. In college, he operated in a system called the Bear Raid, which might be the most college sounding system in the history of football. In three seasons with Goff as the starter, Cal went 14-23. According to ESPN, Goff owns the worst win-loss record of any quarterback to be taken first overall in the draft (since 1967).

Yet there's a reason why Goff is the first pick in the draft. There's a reason why the Rams mortgaged their entire future for the right to select Goff and build their franchise around him. Rather, there are reasons.

Goff is the best quarterback in the NFL Draft because his footwork is polished, he's accurate with the football, and he boasts tremendous touch on downfield throws. In three college seasons, Goff completed 62.3 percent of his passes for 12,195 yards, 96 touchdowns, and 30 interceptions. So, clearly he was productive against Pac-12 competition.

He also improved from year to year. If you're going to hold Goff's win total against him, then praise him for the fact that Cal went 1-11 when he was a freshman and 8-5 when he was a junior. Goff also increased his completion percentage, yards per attempt, and touchdown count every season.

The pre-draft process didn't derail Goff's stock. At the combine, concerns about the size of his hands and, in effect, his ability to spin a wet football emerged, but Goff erased those critiques. At Cal's pro day, a coach squirted water onto the football during Goff's reps -- no problem. As NFL Network's Mike Silver reported, Goff's secret workout with the Rams in February took place during a downpour -- again, no problem.

As for the jabs at the system in which Goff played, they have some merit, though they're ultimately overblown. The Bear Raid is related to the Air Raid, sure, but Goff was still required to read defenses on every snap. As Goff's offensive coordinator, Tony Franklin, told me last summer, the vast majority of his play calls gave Goff multiple possibilities at the line of scrimmage. It was up to Goff to decide run or pass based on the alignment of the defense. Goff will need to adjust to a more complicated pro offense, but it's an adjustment that he's capable of making.

And having Gurley lined up in the backfield certainly won't hurt Goff's chances to succeed at the next level. 

The Rams made California quarterback Jared Goff the top pick of this year's draft. (USATSI)
The Rams made Cal's Jared Goff the top pick of this year's draft. (USATSI)

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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