My two favorite draft experts are Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks. On their podcast "Move the Sticks" they used their scouting experience (they have a combined 10+ years of NFL prospect scouting experience between them) to evaluate prospects and shine the light on the oft misunderstood world of scouting. In their post combine podcast they both agreed that our former Goffensive leader, Jared Goff, and NDST's Carson Wentz are the premier QB prospects in this draft.
With Bucky Brooks stating that Goff's quickness with his feet, decision making, and release he will be able to thrive in the NFL much like Matt Ryan, and Daniel Jeremiah arguing that Wentz is the best QB considering his versatility as a dual-threat QB in the red zone, experience in the pro-style offense that he ran at NDST, as well as his size and arm strength. They both agreed that both Goff and Wentz had the poise and composure at the NFL Combine showed that they are mentally ready for the big stage vs. the rest of the QBs in the draft who seemed "stiff".
In this column I will look into what the data can tell us.
Ian Wharton from Bleacher Report released the passing charts for all of the top QB prospects.
2015 full season accuracy charts for:— Ian Wharton (@NFLFilmStudy) January 2, 2016
Carson Wentz pic.twitter.com/5ymxFJ6KcI
A passing chart contains information about completion, TDs, INTs, drops for a QB separated by distance and part of the field.
Our Goffensive leader has shown to be an exceptional passer in the pre-LOS, short, and middle passing game albeit being more deficient on his right hand side vs. his left hand side of the field. One thing that pops out the most is the fact that Goff has been perfect in pre-LOS passes, which means his execution on screens and hot-routes has been impeccable. Of course this doesn't mean he's a check-down Charlie. This can mean that his ability to pass the ball under pressure to a safety valve and execute screens can lessen the pressure of a ferocious pass-rush by being able to effectively use dump-offs as well as supplement the running game by executing screens.
This near-perfect execution of the pre-LOS passing plays as well as short (0-10) passing plays means that he would fit the West Coast system very well. If the Kansas City Chiefs were looking for a QB in this draft, Goff would've been their dream prospect.
Carson Wentz' season was interrupted by injury in the 2015 season and thus his stats are much smaller than of our Goffensive leader. Nonetheless, it provides us with a sufficiently large sample to make some deductions about the prospect. Generally, he has been effective in all passes 20 yards all across of the field without any glaring holes. His 3rd down production is admirable since he was able to convert 3rd and 1-9 on a pretty good basis.
The numbers, as compared to Goff are less inspiring. However, we need to take two ideas into consideration: on one hand his opponents were of FCS quality, which means the DBs weren't as fast and as physical as Power 5 DBs and certainly not as good as the ones he'll face on Sundays, one the other hand, his receivers and OL were of a similar quality, thus not as effective even in the most mundane responsibilities of their positions as their peers. What to make of this differential? If I adjust them so that these benefits and drawbacks off-set each other, then Wentz's numbers are less than inspiring.
Looking at the success Joe Flacco and Tony Romo we can see that top level QBs can come from these echelons. On the other hand there are many QBs that tried and failed to crack the barrier between the FCS and NFL.
What is not seen here is the fact that Wentz is a good rushing QB (642 yards on 138 attempts and 6TDs in his last full season in 2014). Not a Cam Newton type of threat on the ground, not even Russell Wilson threat, but an Alex Smith one where he will get 5-15 yards when the pocket breaks down, and be a factor in zone-read plays as well as QB draws, sneaks, designed runs.
I will be using my favorite drafting website, Mock Draftable where the owner gathers all combine quantitative data and presents each prospect with a spider graph that gives us a good view of how a prospect stacks up against other players invited to the NFL combines.
As we can see, Jared Goff isn't a physical specimen of a QB vis-a-vis all other QBs. For a pocket passing, traditional QB these aren't very significant besides height, weight, and 3 cone. The whole "hand-size" conundrum has been blown out of proportion, at 9 inches Jared may fall at the 5th percentile of QBs but still passes the threshold of acceptability (according to Daniel Jeremiah who scouted for the Ravens, Eagles and Browns).
The reason I highlight the 3-cone is the fact that it depicts short area agility necessary to navigate the pocket quickly.
This chart should explain why NFL scouts think that Wentz has a higher ceiling than Goff. All of his physical attributes are exceptional. He has the short range agility as depicted by his 3-cone drill, exceptional burst as depicted by his 20 yard shuttle and broad jump. Furthermore, he has the height and weight to be able to absorb hits when running the ball making him a great dual-threat QB.
When we look at the most important down: 3rd down. Goff is a much more effective passer in this situation to keep the chain moving. Wentz is just as effective as Goff in on 3rd and 1-4, yet his production falls off in much longer odds. Of course we need to note that Goff has 3 WRs and 1 RB who were invited to the NFL Combine while Wentz passed to FCS skill players. Thus we need to account for the boost that Goff gets from having top echelon players. How much was Wentz hampered by his skill players? Was the skill differential so significant to depress Wentz's numbers? Or is it evidence that Wentz may just be a "good QB".
Yet, one thing that separates good QBs from great ones. Give your good QB a decent WR he will remain a decent WR, a great QB like Peyton Manning 2001-2013 vintage or Brady 2004-2015 vintage make decent receivers into really good receivers. We won't know whether Lawler, Anderson, Davis, Treggs, Lasco, and Powe were very good WRs that made Goff look better than he is, or did he elevate the players around him.
What Carson Wentz seemingly lacks through the air he can make up on the ground. True, Jared can make some yards to happen when needed, however, he isn't a player that would juke a safety or level a cornerback with his shoulder. Thus here we can see why Wentz can be a desirable prospect with the rise of capable pocket passers who can be a threat with the ball.
Finally, the physical characteristics of the
As we can see here, Goff is seemingly the better passing prospect with his superior performance as depicted on the passing chart. On the other hand, Wentz has the physical tools to be able to be a threat out of the pocket. I think the relative ranking of the two players will come down to what type of QB you want for your system.
If I want a pocket-passer with exceptional short and middle passing with great pocket awareness but not a lot of production on the ground after 10 yards past the line of scrimmage? Jared Goff is your man. He would thrive fantastically in a system with quick reads that set up the deep passing game or one where short passing and screen passes are possible substitutes for an anemic rushing game.
If your o-line isn't great, or you want to emphasize a QB that can take some punishment and run the ball as well as have a passable air game. Carson Wentz checks off the boxes of OCs who want to even out the traditional 10 to 11 disadvantage offenses usually have in the running game as well as a QB that has a lot of potential.
I think that Jared is a much more traditional QB with all the traits needed to succeed in a West Coast system that will allow him to maximize his own and his weapon's potential. Yet, Wentz has all the tools and measurables that would make him Big Ben Roethlisberger 2.0, a rocket armed passer that is unfazed by the oncoming OLBs/DEs because he is just as big as they are.