The Footballguys staff was asked to mention their most significant rookie quarterback for the upcoming season. Most significant can have a lot of meaning, so - in this case - it means we just asked our guys to pick the rookie quarterback they most wanted to write about. Here are the results.
Player Receiving 10 Votes
Jared Goff, Los Angeles
Alexander: No rookie quarterback figures to be worthwhile for fantasy purposes this season, but at least Jared Goff will open 2016 as a starter (Case Keenum's current standing atop the LA depth chart can be safely ignored). Goff was the best quarterback prospect in this year's draft, blending a quality arm with a clean release, proper footwork, and strong pocket awareness in his time at Cal. But even with his pedigree, Goff faces an uphill climb to fantasy relevance. After playing almost exclusively from the shotgun or pistol last season, Goff will have to adjust to NFL game speed while working from under center. He's also got to contend with Jeff Fisher's offensive philosophies and LA's barren wide receiver depth chart. Last season, the Rams somehow had the fifth-lowest pass play percentage in the league despite finishing 19th in average scoring margin. And it certainly doesn't help Goff that his best receiver goes 5' 9'', 174 lbs. Even if he is the most significant rookie addition at quarterback, Goff can safely be ignored outside of two-quarterback leagues.
Fahey: Goff is the only rookie quarterback who is likely to start 16 games. He will have a limited role in an offense that should primarily act as a run-first unit that is more concerned with complementing the defense than scoring big. The Rams have enough talent to make Goff a relevant backup in 12-team leagues even if he's unlikely to consistently put up top-12 quarterback numbers.
Feery: An eventful offseason for the franchise known as the Rams culminated with the selection of Cal quarterback Jared Goff with the first overall selection in this year’s draft. Goff will man the controls for the offense as the team makes its highly-anticipated return to Los Angeles, unless something goes seriously wrong in training camp and the preseason. Reports out of OTAs have indicated that Goff will enter the preseason as No.2 on the depth chart, but let’s be clear here – he’d have to be pretty awful this summer for anything other than him lining up behind center in Week 1 to pan out. The Rams also took the time to add some targets for Goff in this year’s draft, and the arrow is clearly pointing up for Todd Gurley in the backfield. Year one of the Jared Goff era will likely consist of plenty of growing pains. As long as he provides some glimpses that he was worthy of the number one overall selection, the Rams could have a bright future ahead in sunny Los Angeles.
Howe: In dynasty formats, I’d give long looks to dual-threat types with great landing spots, like Cardale Jones and Jeff Driskel. But the only rookie I expect to have any 2016 relevance (and there won’t be much) is Jared Goff, simply because he’ll start from Day 1. Goff isn’t a revolutionary talent, but there are things to like (great, great velocity on his throws) and his college production compares statistically to some solid NFL starters. It’s just hard to imagine he’ll hit the ground running statistically on a Jeff Fisher-coached team. He’ll play at a snail’s pace, hand the ball off at a higher rate than just about anyone, and throw to an underwhelming group of receivers.
Magaw: Fellow first rounders Carson Wentz (PHI) and Paxton Lynch (DEN) could also factor into the equation this season, but Goff was by most accounts the most pro ready QB from the class of '16. In trading up nearly half the first round all the way from 1.15 to first overall, the Rams made the bigget move for a quarterback in the common draft era (NE and HOU moved up from 1.16 and 1.17 for WR Irving Fryar and RB Earl Campbell, respectively). Goff is smart, calm under pressure, has plus ability avoiding the rush, makes good decisions, has a quick release and is accurate, all in evidence with a ridiculous career 56/1 TD/INT ratio in the red zone. He will need time not only adjusting to the speed of the NFL in general like all rookies, but specifically transitioning from Cal's "Air Raid" spread passing attack to a pro style scheme and offense. Goff will be helped by a stacked, talented, potential top 10 defense, a young, hulking, deep OL and one of the best RBs in the game in reigning Rookie of the Year Todd Gurley. Wide receiver Tavon Austin is coming off a career high 10 TD campaign, but the prized signal caller will need contributions from fellow rookies Pharoh Cooper and Mike Thomas at WR and Tyler Higbee at TE to help get the franchise over the chronic, habitual sub-.500 hump in arguably the league's strongest division.
Parsons: Jared Goff offers the most impact in a one-year window. The Rams quarterback situation negatively impacted Todd Gurley’s opportunities in 2015. Even baseline quarterback play from Goff to extend drives and convert third-and-short to medium situations boosts Gurley’s upside and Tavon Austin’s chances for a top-20 season. The Rams are likely a ball-control team making Goff a low-ceiling player himself, but expanding the opportunities for surrounding fantasy options has Goff at the top of the rookie quarterback impact list.
Pasquino: I still cannot get used to "Los Angeles Rams" just yet, but this choice clearly comes down to Goff or Carson Wentz in Philadelphia (and possibly Paxton Lynch in Denver). Both Wentz and Lynch are likely to be on the sidelines as a backup for at least half of the year, if not more, while Goff could start as soon as Week 1. By default, Goff becomes the most significant rookie quarterback for 2016 (confining the discussion to just this season only, no Dynasty or Keeper talks here). Goff has QB2 upside at best in my book, but I do not see any other rookies getting under center for significant time before November, and even then fantasy viability is likely very low for any of these longer term prospects.
Simpkins: Being picked number one overall in the Draft makes Jared Goff the most likely to start from day one. Both first-round quarterbacks that went after him (Carson Wentz and Paxton Lynch) may sit for many more games, if not the entire year. He’s unlikely to make much of an impact in fantasy this year, especially in Jeff Fisher’s system that is predicated on playing smashmouth defense and running the ball. However, Goff has the skills to become a long-term success story. He will become especially interesting if Fisher does not survive the coaching hot seat this year and a more offensive-minded coach takes over.
Waldman: I was a fan of Jameis Winston, Brett Hundley, and Marcus Mariota. I think Goff is near or at the top of the list of last year's rookies. It's a slight departure from the consensus. Goff has excellent pocket presence and maneuverability. Most important, he delivers the ball with accuracy after avoiding the pass rush, which is an underlooked aspect of scouting passers. The Rams lack established weapons to complement Goff in the receiving game but his skill at seeing the field, creating when plays break down, and an underrated arm make him capable of playing this year, and well enough to prevent the offense from being completely one-dimensional. The significance of Goff's presence, like any rookie passer, is rooted in his long-term development. I believe he's the most promising.
Players Receiving 1 Vote
Mike Bercovici, San Diego
Wimer: This is a tough call between Jared Goff and Carson Wentz for a lot of folks, but I am going to state that for dynasty purposes, I am targeting Mike Bercovici in San Diego. He has pro-ready skills with a cannon for an arm, and he has the type of game that San Diego relies on from the current starter Philip Rivers. Bercovici is reputed to be an extremely hard worker - an under-rated skill/personality trait that allowed former NFL stars like Joe Montana and Peyton Manning rise to the top of their profession (in contrast to the dumpster fire that Johnny Manziel's career rapidly became). In redraft leagues I think Goff has the most opportunity/upside for 2016 (though still not enough to be considered as a fantasy option except when the matchup is extremely favorable), but longer-term Bercovici could be the gem of the 2016 NFL Draft at his position.
Paxton Lynch, Denver
Wood: Jared Goff and Carson Wentz went 1.01 and 1.02, respectively in the 2016 NFL Draft – and both stand a chance of being starters in 2016. Yet, my choice for the most significant rookie quarterback addition is Paxton Lynch. Lynch was drafted by John Elway – a Hall of Fame quarterback – to replace Peyton Manning – a future Hall of Fame quarterback – to play for the defending Super Bowl champions. While Lynch may not be asked to start in Week One, we all know Mark Sanchez is nothing more than a stop gap. Lynch will be on the field as soon as he wins over his coaches and shows a mastery of the playbook. While I don’t expect fantasy relevance – much less stardom – from Lynch this season, I do think his ability to play effectively will go a long way toward keeping the Broncos in contention.
Carson Wentz, Philadelphia
Hicks: Of all the prominent quarterbacks drafted, the one most likely to succeed long term is Carson Wentz. With the Eagles stacked at the position and a new coaching regime there will be no pressure to start Wentz before he is ready. I wouldn’t expect much fantasy production from Wentz this year, as Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel are more than capable bridges until Wentz plays. Wentz has all the tools to be an elite starter in years to come and the Eagles have a young offense to build around him.
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