Should Jared Goff Forgo Senior Season And Declare For The NFL Draft?


Jared Goff, Cal Berkeley quarterback, is considered by many to be one of the best in the country. He has started at Cal since his freshman year in 2013, and he has improved each year. After going 1-11 in 2013 and 5-7 in 2014, Goff has led the Golden Bears to a 5-3 record and has them on the verge of their first bowl game in four seasons.

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Goff has succeeded in making Cal relevant again in the Pac-12. And his efforts have not gone unnoticed by NFL scouts and expert analysts.

However, he will have a big decision to make after the 2015 season. He can return for his senior season and continue to build on the foundation he has helped build, or he can declare for the NFL Draft.

Why He Should Stay:

Goff has struggled against the quality opponents that Cal has played against this season. Their last three opponents have been USC, UCLA and Utah — all of which were ranked in the top 15 at one point during the season. He has thrown seven interceptions over those three games — five of which came against Utah.

Goff totaled ten interceptions in 2013 and seven in 2014, he has already thrown more over eight games in 2015.

This is alarming because it signifies regression, even when the overall team has significantly improved when compared to the past two seasons. It is worth noting that two of the five interceptions that Goff threw against Utah were entirely the fault of his receivers.

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Still, if Goff were more careful with the ball, the losses against Utah and USC could have easily been victories.

Michigan State senior quarterback, Connor Cook is also a favorite of expert analysts. Goff and Cook are two separate quarterbacks that play in entirely different offensive systems. Goff has had at least 100 more pass attempts than Cook in 2013 and 2014.

That being said, Cook threw eight interceptions during his junior season — a personal high. Cook returned for his senior year and has played phenomenally. He has thrown for 17 touchdowns and has only two interceptions, leading Michigan State to an 8-0 record.

Goff’s inability to perform against good teams is a worrisome sign for his potentially immediate professional career. Although he has thrown for 272 yards or higher in each game they have lost, he has not shown the ability to finish a close game, letting Heisman-like moments slip away.

Why He Should Leave:

Jared Goff continues to improve his overall game. Interceptions aside, his number of completions and yards per completion are both higher than last season — 66.3 percent and 8.2 yards per attempt, respectively.

He is estimated to throw for 3,805 yards and 33 touchdowns by then end of the 2015 season, which are both slightly lower than the high bar he set last season.

Goff has put up numbers like these every year while playing for Cal. He has clearly progressed as a quarterback and has exciting potential. CBSSports had this to say when discussing Goff,

"Goff has a snappy over-the-top release and isn’t afraid to zip the ball through tight windows, typically leading his receivers away from danger. He possesses enough arm strength to complete deep outs to the opposite sideline and shows good touch down the seam. The composure and toughness he has shown while being beaten up behind an overmatched offensive line also won’t go unnoticed by scouts."

If he decides to leave after his junior year, Goff is projected to be the top quarterback taken by many draft analysts. He has shown the growth required by college quarterbacks looking to make it in the NFL.

Next: Despite Struggles, Cal's Confidence Remains High

Perhaps most importantly, he risks injury if he decides to stay for his senior year. He could miss out on a major paycheck that comes with being selected as a top five overall pick in the NFL Draft.

Goff has had a great season. He has shown immense ability and still has four more regular season games to exhibit his talent. That being said, he needs another year in the college ranks to learn. Goff should follow Cook’s example and return for his senior season. Not only will Cal be better off, Goff will continue to learn and better prepare himself for life as a professional quarterback.