California star quarterback Jared Goff took the field Friday for the Golden Bears' pro day, but even before he did his throwing session, one measurement in particular stood out.
Goff was knocked to a degree for having a leaner frame compared to fellow top QB prospects Carson Wentz and Paxton Lynch, but his hand size was a hop topic of conversation following the NFL Scouting Combine.
ESPN's Todd McShay reported on some of the favorable notes to emerge from California Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, California:
Todd McShay @McShay13
Goff's hand span grew 1/8 of an inch in a month. Now 9 1/8"3/18/2016, 4:06:58 PM
But to be frank, one eighth of an inch is a minuscule difference and shouldn't make much of an impact.
Doug Farrar of Sports Illustrated got in on the fun:
Doug Farrar @BR_DougFarrar
"I think he had a hand transplant. He's a real go-getter, that Goff." -- Anonymous scout https://t.co/ZCHPqiHLtp3/18/2016, 4:41:07 PM
Although he threw at the combine, Goff had the chance to showcase his arm talent with his own receivers Friday, which stood to give him a significant advantage.
Taylor Price of 49ers.com was among those eagerly anticipating the throwing session:
Taylor Price @TaylorPrice
#Goff watch. The mood is tense. https://t.co/VL94RnMPZo3/18/2016, 5:31:04 PM
Even before Goff threw the ball, Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson, whose team holds the No. 2 overall pick and needs a QB, spoke glowingly on NFL Network about the young signal-caller, per ESPNCleveland.com's Tony Grossi: "He's a tremendous young man, has a lot of poise, accuracy, can throw the ball with anybody."
Jackson added the following about the top draft pick, per Grossi: "It may be a quarterback, and it also may not be."
With the hand size silliness behind him, the 21-year-old Goff proceeded to throw a heavily scripted slate of 69 passes. Since Goff's accuracy is widely perceived as his greatest attribute, he was bound to dazzle talent scouts. He didn't disappoint, and he lived up to Jackson's assessment.
San Francisco 49ers coach Chip Kelly also took in the Goff show, as captured by NFL Network's Alex Flanagan:
Alex Flanagan @Alex_Flanagan
Watching Jared Goff front and center at Cal's Pro day is 49ers HC Chip Kelly. https://t.co/RSTEb28U9e3/18/2016, 5:50:03 PM
First N Goal also showed how key representatives from the Buffalo Bills were on hand to check out the scene:
First N Goal @First_N_Goal1
Bills GM Doug Whaley and WR coach Sanjay Lal checking out Jared Goff and Kenny Lawler at Cal pro day. #BillsMafia https://t.co/FUfB42b8oP3/18/2016, 6:11:11 PM
Although Goff wasn't taking snaps from a center, he was still was displaying exceptional footwork during the workout and hit the majority of his throws.
Fox Sports' Joel Klatt provided some footage and a quick analysis of some of Goff's desirable characteristics:
Joel Klatt @joelklatt
Goff has the best feet in the #NFLDraft also the best pure passer available https://t.co/AhvE4kN7R23/18/2016, 5:58:45 PM
NFL Network expert Mike Mayock weighed in on how good Goff and his top competition to be the first passer off the board are, per Cleveland.com's Chris Fedor:
Chris Fedor @ChrisFedor
Mike Mayock just said he's at a point where he believes Jared Goff/Carson Wentz are every bit as good as Winston/Mariota last year.3/18/2016, 5:55:34 PM
"The footwork is there, the quick release...the awareness of the game," Mayock said, per NFL on Twitter.
That's not a bad player to be analogized to. Mayock later said (via College Football 24/7), "I think Jared Goff put on a nice show today. Nice combination in passing script. Did a heck of a job. Finished strong."
ESPN's Ron Jaworski more or less echoed the evaluations from Mayock and Klatt:
Ron Jaworski @jawsespn
Good solid mechanics! Size & accuracy! All things I see when watching Jared Goff on tape!… https://t.co/DSxo9p4Y933/18/2016, 5:52:19 PM
As for those who want to poke holes in a top-tier talent, CBS Sports Radio's Chris Fillar provided nitpicking fodder:
Chris Fillar @ItsFillar
Jared Goff have a Peyton Manning gut bump? I'm sold.3/18/2016, 5:58:10 PM
The ball did hit the ground more often than might have been expected, but that's because Goff wanted to challenge himself.
Instead of making a bunch of easy throws, Goff took to frequent seven-step drops. He hoped to dispel any notions of arm strength and may have pressed the issue a bit by sailing some of the driving, downfield throws that require a lot of velocity and zip.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reported that Goff completed 61 of 69 passes with two drops—an exceptional mark under the circumstances.
But when the workout appeared to be over, Browns quarterback coach Pep Hamilton came out and squirted some water on the ball to see how Goff fared with a wet pigskin. He appeared to pass the test.
Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot appreciated Hamilton's tactic:
Mary Kay Cabot @MaryKayCabot
#Browns Pep Hamilton just squirted water on the ball to see if Goff can throw a wet ball. Veteran move Pep3/18/2016, 6:17:36 PM
NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah wasn't totally sold, saying Goff had a "good arm, not great," per Cabot, and added, "It wasn't a flawless Pro Day. It was solid. B on deep ball."
A scouting director told Bleacher Report's Matt Miller that Goff had a "very good day" and he "believes it's split 50-50 among teams on who the best QB is."
Pro days should always be taken with a grain of salt, but it was hard not to respect what Goff did in his outing.
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It comes down to what the game tape reveals more often than not. There's no denying Goff earned a first-round grade and has all the makings of a top-10 pick. Whatever he did Friday shouldn't have changed the perception about him in any drastic way.
Goff confirmed he does indeed have an NFL arm, can make all the throws and is arguably the most accurate QB in the 2016 class.
Those attributes suggest the Browns at No. 2 and the 49ers at No. 7 overall will have a hard time passing Goff up as their potential future face of the franchise.
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