Jared Goff Taken First Overall by the Los Angeles Rams

Dec 29, 2015; Fort Worth, TX, USA; California Golden Bears quarterback Jared Goff (16) shakes hands with a fan after defeating the Air Force Falcons at Amon G. Carter Stadium. California won 55-36. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 29, 2015; Fort Worth, TX, USA; California Golden Bears quarterback Jared Goff (16) shakes hands with a fan after defeating the Air Force Falcons at Amon G. Carter Stadium. California won 55-36. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

With the first overall pick in the draft, the Los Angeles Rams have taken former Cal Bears quarterback Jared Goff.

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After the long wait leading up to the 2016 NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Rams finally made their selection on Thursday night. A hefty trade moved the Tennessee Titans out of the number-one spot, and put the Rams in their place, so Los Angeles used that selection to take former California Golden Bears’ quarterback Jared Goff with the first pick, the first pick made by a Los Angeles team in 20 years.

For a long time, Ole Miss tackle Laremy Tunsil was seen as the almost surefire number-one overall pick while the Titans held that rank. With Marcus Mariota, the former Oregon Duck that was picked second overall last year, at the helm for Tennessee, they already had the guy that pegged as their franchise quarterback, and had to stabilize the offensive line in front of him instead. But the trade shook things up in a major way, and Goff was the biggest beneficiary.

Goff, a record-setting quarterback during his time in Berkeley, is the second Cal alum to be taken with the number-one overall pick in the draft, joining another quarterback, Steve Bartkowski. In 1975, the Atlanta Falcons made Bartkowski the first selection. Goff is also the sixth Cal quarterback taken in the first round, and first since the Green Bay Packers took Aaron Rodgers 24th overall in 2005. Goff is the first Cal first-rounder overall since Cameron Jordan was picked 24th overall in 2011 by the New Orleans Saints.

This selection finally puts to bed the hot topic question from the past offseason: Goff or Carson Wentz? The Rams were rumored to be favoring Goff after making their trade about two weeks before the draft, but there was still a slight inkling that the North Dakota State quarterback was still in play for the first pick.

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Goff earned the Rams’ favor with an incredible three-season career at Cal. Just about every passing record in Cal’s book fell to the right arm of Goff. His 977 completions, 1,568 attempts, 12,195 yards, and 96 touchdowns are all tops in school history. In his junior year in 2015, Goff broke his own school records with 341 completions, 4,714 passing yards, and 43 touchdowns, with the latter two breaking Pac-12 Conference Records.

With the Rams, Goff likely won’t be handed the reins to the offense right out of the gates. Nick Foles figures to return as the starter, but alternated between being extremely ineffective and injured in 2015. In 11 games, all starts, in his first year with the Rams, Foles’ 69.0 passer rating was second-worst among quarterbacks that attempted at least 200 passes, better only than 39-year-old Peyton Manning. His 56.4 percent completion percentage was also second-worst, beating Andrew Luck‘s 55.3 percent.

Case Keenum started the five games that Foles missed, and while he fared better than Foles in most respects, he still didn’t prove himself to be a quality NFL starting quarterback. The former Houston Cougar completed 60.8 percent of his attempts, but his 6.6 yards per pass attempt was fifth-worst among quarterbacks that threw 100 passes last year. On the bright side, he threw only one interception in his 125 pass attempts, by far the lowest interception rate.

When Goff takes the field, he will have the honor of playing with Todd Gurley, the former Georgia Bulldogs’ running back that exploded in his rookie season last year. Having that big time running threat behind him will be a big boost for Goff, especially with the Rams’ mostly inexperienced and unproven receiving group. Wide receiver Kenny Britt, tight end Lance Kendricks, and Mr. Do-It-All Tavon Austin are the only three pass catchers with over 100 career receptions. The pass game took a big hit when tight end Jared Cook was released early in the offseason.

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There was a lot of speculation that Goff would fall to the seventh team in the draft order, and be selected by the San Francisco 49ers, his favorite childhood team. Though he won’t be wearing the red and gold uniform, Goff will begin his NFL career in Levi’s Stadium. The Rams and 49ers open the 2016 season on September 12th in the 49ers’ stadium, as part of the opening week’s Monday Night Football double-header.