California quarterback Jared Goff surrounded by a horde of reporters at the NFL Combine, answering questions about the possibility of being the first signal-caller taken in the draft on April 28.
Depending on who you ask, Goff is either the No. 1 or No. 2 quarterback available in the 2015 draft class. And to be in that position after going 1-11 his first year at Cal is somewhat remarkable. But, as Goff said at the Combine, the quarterback gained plenty from what he called a “terrible” first year.
“It taught me a lot about football. Had to grow up, had to mature, had to become the leader of the team that next year,” Goff said. “Was able to go through it with a lot of great guys, a lot of great teammates who were there at the end, as well this past year when we were able to be successful.
The leadership aspect of it may be one of the factors that helps Goff the most as he transitions to the NFL. The signal-caller cited his best abilities that he can bring to the team that drafts him.
“I think I’m going to improve a team the day I get there,” Goff said. “I can be a guy who can play right away. I can sit if I need to and learn. But, honestly, I’m excited for whatever team wants to draft me and I’m excited to make an impact right away.”
Goff has a real chance to be drafted No. 2 overall, and if that doesn’t happen it seems unlikely that he’ll make past No. 10. He certainly had the stats to merit the consideration -- completing 64.5 percent of his passes for 4,714 yards with 43 touchdowns in 2015 -- and his tape shows off his throwing ability and strong presence in the pocket.
“I think my accuracy is one of my best attributes. I think I’ve been pretty accurate my whole life,” Goff said. “And then I think something I want to work on is kind of tying my feet to my upper body a little bit and kind of staying a little bit more on balance when I’m throwing. I was able to get away with some stuff, I think, in the past of maybe falling off throws or just getting away with it because I was in college and I had enough arm talent to do it. But I don’t expect to be able to get away with that, really, much longer.”
Despite how well he’s played, Goff said he still felt like he had something to prove in front of the teams at the Combine.
That he did on Saturday, using precise footwork to launch his share of accurate passes to the receivers doing drills with him. While the vast majority of Goff’s snaps came from the shotgun at Cal, the quarterback said he thinks much of what he learned in college can still translate well to the next level.
“A lot of the drop back to pass stuff we did is included in the NFL -- third-down stuff, there’s a lot of shotgun nowadays,” Goff said. “There’s obviously going to be a transition that happens. But I think there’s a transition with every quarterback going from college to the NFL. So I’m excited for it, honestly. I think I did a lot of stuff in college that does translate well.”
In order to accelerate the adjustment process, Goff has been training in Southern California, working in particular on taking snaps from under center. It’s the work he’s putting in now that should help him eventually reach the status of a franchise quarterback -- a distinction Goff appears to want. But the journey to get there isn’t necessarily easy.
“I think just repetition every day, and just kind of getting that consistency,” Goff said. “That’s something that the great ones do, I think, is never get complacent, always try to get better. And you see the guys who are the best -- guys like Brady, and Rodgers, and Peyton -- they’re always working. They’re always trying to improve their game. I think that’s what can separate yourself and make you consistent.”
Given how far Goff has brought himself in just a few years, no one should be surprised when he soon reaches the top echelon of quarterbacks in the NFL.