PFF Debate: Wentz or Goff the better QB prospect?

Senior analysts Steve Palazzolo and Sam Monson debate the top QB prospect in the 2016 NFL draft.

| 1 year ago
(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

PFF Debate: Wentz or Goff the better QB prospect?

Once again, the Cleveland Browns find themselves in a position to draft a new quarterback at the top of the NFL draft.

In our second PFF Debate of the 2016 draft season, senior analysts Steve Palazzolo and Sam Monson discuss, debate and ultimately disagree on the superior QB prospect — Cal’s Jared Goff or North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz?

[Editor’s note: Looking for more on the NFL draft? Check out our 2016 NFL draft guide, loaded with scouting reports, signature stats and much more.] 

Sam Monson: Well, can we start with arm strength? Carson Wentz makes Jared Goff’s arm look weak. In terms of arm talent, it’s not even a conversation.

Steve Palazzolo: I think you’re getting a little extreme when describing Goff’s arm. He has plenty of arm to make the necessary throws, but he does run into issues when he has to reset quickly — some of his passes will die. Either way, he makes up for it with quick decision-making and a quick release.

Monson: The arm talent thing is less an indictment on Goff’s arm, which I agree is fine (but just fine), and more an endorsement of the physical tools that Wentz has.

People talk about the QB they’d draw up if they had access to Frankenstein’s lab (they don’t put it in those terms, but we all know they’re dying to go full-on mad scientist), and when they piece it all together it looks a lot like Wentz.

Big guy, solid frame, howitzer for an arm, athletic enough to be useful and big enough that you don’t worry about every shot he takes. Goff doesn’t really have any of that.

Palazzolo: There’s no doubt that Wentz “looks the part,” and that’s a big part of his appeal. But he’s lacking in some of the areas needed to succeed at quarterback at the next level. His timing is simply not good in the passing game, often late with his reads, and that’s a big area that needs to be ironed out. When I watch Goff, I see similarities to the best QBs in the game — pocket movement, firing through his reads, accuracy. I’ll take those elements of Goff’s game over the size and the big arm.

Monson: I think what we’re really talking about in this debate is how ready they are to play Day 1, right? I agree Wentz needs to speed up his reads, but at least he’s working through them and has them at all. You can’t say that for several QBs in this class. I’d be more concerned if he wasn’t working through them at all, and never getting to No. 2 or No.3 in the progression.

I think Goff may be more ready to start Day 1 because of what you’re saying, but the X-factor there is what Wentz can do with his legs. Washington made RGIII super effective in the first year because of what he could do with his legs, buying him time in essence to learn on the job as a passer. Sure, it ended pretty badly for him, but Wentz is significantly bigger than RGIII and can take more of a pounding as a runner. He could probably also be taught to actually slide when necessary in a way RGIII never accepted. Either way, that additional ability to boost the run game could be enough to get Wentz in the game and develop his passing tools in game situations.

Palazzolo: I’m not seeing pocket mobility from Wentz — maybe he develops it, but the things we’re asking Wentz to develop are scary ones: timing, pocket mobility, downfield accuracy. If he can figure those out, then he’s potentially great, but that’s where we start the risk/reward discussion. What are the chances that he does improve in all of the necessary areas?

I believe Goff is more NFL ready. That said, he’s certainly no finished product. He’s still young — only a true junior — and he continues to add bulk every year. We could easily see him improve his arm as he fills out. I also love his quick mind in the passing game, that will always be there for him at the next level.

Monson: I think that’s the key. If we were debating Wentz against a far more flawless product, I’d be all for him being drated as the second quarterback in this class, but Goff has enough warts that I’m drawn to the guy with the bigger upside. Neither guy is a sure thing — both could probably use some time on the bench (that they probably won’t get) to learn and shape some of their rough edges.

Given that, I think you go for the guy who has monster upside and a proven upward trajectory in his career arc. I think a smart team can protect Wentz early with scheme and still play to his strengths while he develops. If he does smooth out those rough edges, we’re looking at a guy with sky-high potential.

Palazzolo: Looking at Cleveland specifically, the Browns should take Goff. While the upside is tempting, there are few common traits that all good quarterbacks share and Goff has them. I think he’s still on the upswing of his career and he already moves around the pocket, reads defenses, and throws with accuracy like an NFL QB. He’s the QB I’m hitching my wagon to long-term.

Monson: If you’re the Browns, I say you take Wentz. He may take a little bit more work from a schematic point of view in terms of starting from Day 1, but they hired a QB guy in Hue Jackson for a reason. Give him the best tools to work with and trust he can help him reach his potential. He’s the guy I’d take. And I think for once, the Browns may not be able to go wrong regardless of which guy they pick.

[Editor’s note: This piece was published before the Rams traded for the No. 1-overall pick.]



  • JudoPrince

    RGIII is a better prospect than any of these two….but the Browns being the Browns will take a QB with the first pick instead of filling other voids. That’s why they are the Browns.

    • kammm

      Prospect? He’s been in the league 4 years and was benched the entire last season. Ship has probably sailed, dude, you need to let it go. He’s a bridge and they will draft one of these guys.

      • JudoPrince

        ….which is why they are the Browns

        • kammm

          Thanks, you’ve said that already. Maybe they should listen to nerds like you who think they can win without a qb and think because they’ve swung and missed in the past that they should try and go with RG3. Don’t post comments if you know nothing about football. Just eat your popcorn and stfu.

  • Ike Evans

    I get the arm strength conversation but idk how else wentz has more upside then goff when he is a full 2 years older then goff is

    • The Mysteries of Bob

      Big draft media is so predictable .

      Wentz fitz all the checkboxes they are looking into a QB, 6’5″ tall, big arm, so they think the fact he stares down receivers, takes long pauses, doesn’t lead the receivers into space and wasn’t needed for his team to be successful can be largely ignored.

      I have never smelled bust woth such ease into a prospect, all the good things said about him are cliches.

  • CioccSonoma

    Missing in the Goff vs Wentz debates is age. Goff’s only 21, a full 2 years younger than Wentz. He will naturally fill out a little and gain a bit more zip even if he has no change in his conditioning routine.

    The earlier a player develops proper mechanics, the more likely it holds up in pressure situations down the road.

  • zinn21 zinn21

    The Browns are idiots if they take either.. They signed RGIII. He will play fine if they can protect him.. The Browns will draft Cardale Jones in the third round and take their #2 a get a player who can make an impact for them on opening day. Cardale played very well his soph year made all the throws was accurate and won the National title. Ohio State hired a new OC in 2015 and they benched Cardale because they thought the other guy would get more out of their offensive weapons. Did it work? Not really. Cardale is a steal in the third round, arguably better than Wentz right now..

    • Tim Edell

      Cardale Jones?!?? I had to check the calendar thought today might be April Fools Day!!

      • zinn21 zinn21

        That’s how dumb you are.

        • Tim Edell

          Logan Thomas 2.0 Junior!!

    • Jason Williams

      (exasperated sigh) with the offensive line the Browns have, they will be lucky to get 6 good healthy games out of RG3.

    • Fred Kruse

      I’m an OSU grad, and Cardale is one of my all-time faves, but his propensity to hold the ball is a major red flag.

    • David Vorhees Jr.

      RG3 will play fine? That statement in itself is debatable. RG3 is a gimmick QB who needs the threat of running for any aspect of his game to be successful. The NFL defenses have been able to figure that out and that why there was such a huge drop off from year 1 – year 2 and why he didn’t even play last year. He cannot play from the pocket no matter how good the coach is you can’t teach that. He will look good until the real pressure is on and then he will revert to his running ways and his game will fall apart just like before. There is a reason why Washington didn’t want him anymore after what they spent on him and no one was breaking his door down to sign. There is an old saying around the NFL if your good they come to you, if your not you go to them and he came to us. We didn’t search him out. We need a solid young QB we can start to develop and I think Goff is the guy. I think him and Wentz are different but both have really high potential, their ceilings really aren’t any different just Goff is closer to that ceiling than Wentz. If available I say draft Goff at 2.

    • Ken Kelso

      You still think the Browns shouldn’t have taken Wentz with the 2nd pick.

      • zinn21 zinn21

        Nobody could have predicted Wentz’s success. He jumped from I-AA to the NFL like no one has ever done. Cleveland still came away with a ton of picks and what was a matter with Cody Kessler’s performance? This is the best draft class of QB’s perhaps the NFL has seen in a long time.. And I still believe Goff will light it up.

  • The Mysteries of Bob

    Browns should take Ramsey.

    Wentz is the most overrated prospect since Gabbert. He is Weeden 2.0.

    • Ken Kelso

      You still think Wentz is overrated?
      Your looking pretty foolish now

      • Nowhere Man

        Dude, you are seriously pathetic. Did you bookmark this for a half a year for this moment? Haha.

        • Ken Kelso

          hahahahah YUP.

      • The Mysteries of Rosewood

        his college tape was meh

        I eat crow and congratulate him for doing in the pros things he hadn’t in college, like stepping up in the pocket.

  • woof

    Hard to take it seriously when they can’t even get Goff’s college right…

  • Jason Williams

    Draft a QB, every draft, every year.

  • PhD

    Your article might have a little more credibility if you knew what school Goff went to. UCLA? Try University of California, Berkeley.

  • Mark West

    Who is the better QB now? Goff. Who is younger by 2 years? Goff. He is the better QB and always will be. This ‘upside’ argument for Wentz has no validity, none. Its pure speculation. The only tangible upside is for Goff. He will get bigger and stronger. He’s already able to make the reads, move in the pocket and make the throws. He turned a bad team into a good one. I’m shocked there is even a discussion. Goff is the only QB worth considering in the top 20. What’s debatable is if he is worth the #2 pick.

    • Nowhere Man

      “This ‘upside’ argument for Wentz has no validity, none. Its pure speculation. The only tangible upside is for Goff. He will get bigger and stronger. He’s already able to make the reads, move in the pocket and make the throws.”

      I’ve never thought of upside in this fashion. What an interesting take.

      • Ken Kelso

        Do you still think Jared Goff is much better then Carson Wentz?
        Cause the Rams would drive Goff to the airport if they could get Wentz as their starting QB and give the Eagles Goff

        • Nowhere Man

          LOL, you’re a sad, sad man.

          And how am I supposed to know? Our crappy coach (and his crappy coaching staff) won’t play him. Not to mention I never even implied that in my comment.

          With that said, yes, I do still believe Goff has the significantly higher upside (please, show me where I said he’s much better).

        • John K.

          Yes. Wentz has severely regressed after his hot start and Goff showed off his arm in the first half of the game against the Saints.

    • Ken Kelso

      Do you still think Jared Goff is much better then Carson Wentz?
      Cause the Rams would drive Goff to the airport if they could get Wentz as their starting QB and give the Eagles Goff.

  • Michael

    Wentz has the Big Ben physical characteristics yet will he become that kind of QB?

    Goff seems like the less physically impressive choice – yet stil.NFL quality. He may have a lower ceiling yet he is the safer pick.

    If I’m the Browns and I’m sold on taking one of these guys, I go with Goff, then build a line and get him some receivers.

    • Ken Kelso

      Wentz is a superior QB then Goff

  • MaxPowar

    I favor Goff pretty comfortably. His struggles against zone-coverage are the only thing that really concern me about him. He has several other traits that are rare in collegiate prospects, traits the lack of which are often the cause of collegiate superstar QBs busting in the NFL.

    • Ken Kelso

      Do you still think Jared Goff is much better then Carson Wentz?
      Cause the Rams would drive Goff to the airport if they could get Wentz as their starting QB and give the Eagles Goff…

      • MaxPowar

        Obviously I don’t.

        But it’s less about Goff than it is about how much of a raging dumpster fire the Rams offense has become under Jeff Fisher. THIS is what I underestimated.

        Goff could be good, but the team that drafted him has possibly torpedoed his pro career out of the gate. In contrast, Wentz gets Doug Pederson, one of the league’s young ascending offensive minds.

        • Ken Kelso

          Fisher isn’t playing Goff cause he’s been terrible in practice. Fisher knows Goff’s not ready to play in NFL.

          • MaxPowar

            You’re not getting the point, dude.

            Poorly GMed and coached NFL teams consistently ruin their young players. Garbage organizations produce garbage. It’s part of the reason these teams stay bad. Like the Raiders used to be for years before they finally started to turn things around last season, and the Browns now for decades, the Rams are becoming one of those perennially bad NFL teams where careers only go to die.

            The Rams are somehow even managing to ruin Todd Gurley this year (the guy’s averaging 2.9 ypc). Gurley!

            You talk as if Les Snead, Fisher, and his staff have some credibility when it comes to evaluating and developing Goff, and that’s just a joke. Have you paid any attention at all to the Rams in recent years? They’re a disaster.

      • MaxPowar

        Anyway, bud, necro’ing a 3-month old post is pretty stupid. You have my 2 cents on this topic. Have a nice life.

      • John K.

        After Wentz has shat in his pants the past couple months after his hot start, do you still think he is much better than Goff? Wentz, who has better coaching is regressing… Goff is showing more flashes of being a great passer.

  • Doug Koehler

    Goff’s hands are too small to be an effective NFL QB. Now that Bradford has been traded, Wentz will be the starter just as soon as he is healthy.

  • Andre

    Both suck! Rams and Eagles will not go anywhere with them. Best rookie qb is Dak Prescott.