Why Cal’s Jared Goff is our No. 1 QB
While nobody at PFF views California quarterback Jared Goff as a can’t-miss NFL prospect, it’s also difficult not to view him as the best passer in a somewhat challenged group for the 2015 season.
He currently ranks No. 1 in our passing grades, with a grade nearly double that of second-place Trevone Boykin from TCU. (While Boykin’s raw numbers might be better, and he is the better athlete – although surprisingly Goff’s running grade is higher so far this season, as well – his ball-placement, often out of a completely clean pocket, can leave you scratching your head.)
In Saturday’s win over Washington State, we saw the full range of Goff. He started colder than an arctic winter, including throwing an interception that the defensive back tricked him into, but he started to warm up and in particular showed an ability to thrive under pressure. While almost every quarterback we grade in both pro and college football gets worse under pressure, for this game, Goff appeared to get better with rushers bearing down on him.
This has actually been a consistent theme all season. Every single one of his interceptions has come when he’s had time to throw, whereas his 123.5 QB rating when under duress is simply outstanding. If you isolate only that number and his deep-ball ability – 19 of 26 for 596 yards, 5 touchdowns and just 1 interception on throws of 20-plus yards, good for a best-in-the-nation accuracy percentage of 80.8 – it’s easy to see why NFL scouts would consider him the top QB prospect in the country.
Now, can he combine those with better play out of a clean pocket to come up with a huge road win against a very good Utah defense? It’ll be fun watching on Saturday to find out.