Photos from LA Live as Rams fans gathered to celebrate both the No. 1 pick in the draft, quarterback Jared Goff, and the Rams’ return to Los Angeles.
CHICAGO – Cal quarterback Jared Goff promises the Rams haven’t told him anything official yet about being the top pick in the NFL Draft on Thursday.
“Honest truth.” he said today at a Chicago-area event for local kids, hosted by the National Football League.
That said, it goes without saying Goff would embrace the chance to be the quarterback to lead the Rams back to Los Angeles.
“It would be great. It’s a great place,” Goff said. “The city has been waiting for a professional football team for a long time now. I think the fanbase is still there, so it’ll be a great situation.”
Goff is also excited about the possibility of going first overall.
“It would be awesome. An honor,” Goff said about being the fist pick. “Something to be really proud of and something I’d take and really own and make them proud they made the right decision.”
The Rams haven’t shown their cards, but the consensus is they’ve settled on Goff over North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz.
So after canvassing some league executives it looks like the Browns have zeroed in on one of the top quarterback prospects available in next week’s draft.
It’s not important right now whether it’s Cal’s Jared Goff or North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz.
What’s important is how much the Browns really like the quarterback they covet, and if they willing to pay a price to make sure they get him.
When the Rams traded up from 15 to No. 1 last week it didn’t just shake up the top of the draft and create a ton of buzz in the Rams’ new home in Los Angeles.
It put the Rams in absolute control of the top of the draft relative to the quarterbacks.
Here is the thing: The Rams really like both Wentz and Goff. A lot. Like, equally a lot. The whole objective of moving all the way to No. 1 was making sure they can secure one or the other. There was no way they could guarantee that staying at 15, or even if they moved into the top 10 or 5. Too many teams like both Wentz and Goff, and too many teams were interested in trading to No. 1.
They had to get to No. 1.
Now that they are there, they are mulling whether to draft either Goff or Wentz.
The key being, they like them both.
Which brings us back to the Browns.
If, say, the Browns are desperate for Goff or Wentz – or vice versa – and can live with only one and not the other, you would think they’d be on the phone right now with the Rams working a deal to make sure they get their guy.
Would the Rams be willing to trade out of the No. 1 to No. 2 to accommodate the Browns?
I’m going to say yes, considering their like for both of the top prospects.
Why not? It would mean recouping at least one or two draft picks to make up for the picks they parted with to move from No. 15 to No. 1.
But are the Browns willing to pony up to get their guy if, as some suspect, they have zeroed in on either Wentz or Goff?
That remains to be seen.
After doing a ton of radio interviews across the country in the aftermath of the Rams trade for the No. 1 pick in the draft, one of the more consistent questions I get is how could the Rams part with so many future draft picks to move to No. 1 if they haven’t yet decided between North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz or Cal’s Jared Goff?
The implication being: You don’t give that much up without knowing already who you want to pick.
I agree to an extent. And if you’re asking me today who the Rams are leaning toward I’d say it’s Wentz. There is a reason they moved all the way to No. 1 – and ahead of the Browns, who have been linked to Wentz. They obviously wanted to beat the Browns to the punch.
That said, I think the bigger factor is that the Rams wanted to control the process.
In other words, they wanted to be the team that decided who the best quarterback in the draft is – the quarterback they want to stake their future on – rather than wait on the Browns or anyone else who might have moved into the No. 1 slot to make that determination and force the Rams into a reactionary position.
Had, say, the 49ers moved to No. 1 and taken Goff and the Browns taken Wentz at No. 2, the Rams would have been completely shut out of the two quarterbacks they believe can be Day One starters in the NFL.
They were not going to sit back and allow that to happen. They could not afford to, given how solid the rest of the roster is and the need to plug in a quality quarterback to elevate the Rams from a competitive team to a playoff contender.
By making the unprecedented jump from the 15th spot in the draft to No. 1, they eliminated all uncertainty and hope and chance of the process. And whether they are leaning toward Wentz or Goff or still undecided, they can now spend the next two weeks with the singular focus of reaffirming their position, or being convinced otherwise, or simply deciding who the best prospect is between Wentz and Goff.
The point being, this is the Rams decision to make, and the Rams decision alone. And while it cost quite a bit to take control of that process, having possession of it far outweighs the cost when you consider the long-range implications.