INDIANAPOLIS (92.3 The Fan) – The race for the top quarterback slot in this year’s NFL Draft was whittled down to a 2-man race Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
As expected, Cal’s Jared Goff and North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz were the most impressive during drills but questions remain if either are worthy of the second pick in the draft.
Goff was clearly the best quarterback in the first group and Wentz blew away the competition in the second group. While Wentz appeared to win the Senior Bowl competition, Goff may have edged him out at the Combine – but barely, if that.
Footwork and the ball coming out as receivers broke within their routes gave Goff a slight edge Saturday but that’s about it.
Goff glided effortlessly as coaches moved him around in a pocket movement drills and he had no problem throwing on target from three-, five- or seven-step drops. He hit several receivers running outs, curls, slants and deep balls down the sideline and post-corners in stride with some zip on the ball too.
Like Goff, Wentz had no problem spinning it to any portion of the field even taking into account a few miss-fires on a couple of short routes. His quick release, velocity and timing were noticeable in a very positive way.
Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch threw nearly as well as Goff and Wentz but his footwork wasn’t fluid and needs work.
Oho State’s Cardale Jones didn’t get to throw after sustaining an injury to his right hamstring putting even more pressure on him come March 11 and Ohio State’s pro day.
Connor Cook, a Walsh Jesuit grad, looked inconsistent at best. While Cook looked comfortable dropping back and letting it rip, his throws were inconstant no matter the route. Some tosses were beautiful and on the money – especially his deep ball – while others either fell flat, were to the wrong shoulder or off the mark forcing receivers to adjust to the throw.
Christian Hackenberg of Penn State did more harm than good Saturday. Like Cook, he was consistently inconsistent and his long trowing motion and lofty throws deep down the field left a lot to be desired.
How much stock can you put into their performance at the combine? Not too much.
The reality is when evaluating these quarterbacks the film doesn’t lie and the shorts and shirt setting is one in which athletes – especially quarterbacks – should look their very best and frankly turn heads.
Goff and Wentz accomplished that.
If the Browns are looking for a quarterback to step in and play tomorrow, Goff might be that guy, but looking through a long-term success lens, Wentz appears to have the edge.
The debate between them or just going with the best player available on April 28 will be interesting.