Quarterbacks have not always been the big talk of the NFL Draft, although, that is the way it has been much over the last decade. The debate and then eventual decision between the top two quarterbacks has been an interesting one, as it’s one that can make or break a franchise. Which quarterback will turn out to be a superstar while the other one maybe becomes a bust?
This is once again the scenario in this year’s draft. Which quarterback is better and which one will go first overall, Jared Goff of Carson Wentz?
While they could be compared to Andrew Luck and RGIII or even last year’s class with Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, there is really just one class that this year’s group compares to, and that is the 2008 class with Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco.
Matt Ryan was the Jared Goff of 2008 while Joe Flacco was the Carson Wentz of this year’s class. Goff/Ryan were the most pro ready while Wentz/Flacco had the most upside. Here’s what scouts were saying about the prospects before they came out, you can certainly see the similarities.
Measurables: 6’5, 237-lbs
- Tall with an athletic, proportional build that is made for the NFL position.
- Asked to make NFL throws and showed he could do it.
- Played in Pro Style system and was forced to read defenses
- Still in a developmental phase, but has the attributes of a future, franchise quarterback.
- Will get caught locking in on target
Measurables: 6’6, 232-lbs
- Looks the part.
- Learned to read defenses
- Can make all of the NFL throws with ease
- Isn’t a finished product, but shows the tools worthy of development.
- Tends to lock-on to his receivers.
Here you can see the arm strength and natural ability that Flacco had at Delaware. The future Ravens quarterback you can see, while he doesn’t take his eye off of his target, he does deliver a bullet to his receiver.
You can see Wentz basically makes the same throw here to the other side of the field. He doesn’t take his eye off of his receiver, but he shows off his arm strength delivering the pass into the tight window.
Measurables: 6’4, 215-lbs.
- Makes all the throws and can sling the deep out with velocity and accuracy.
- Pocket Climber. Has mobility and poise in pocket. Maintains proper footwork and readiness to throw as he slides inside the pocket.
- Looks the part of a confident, first round quarterback
- Played behind poor offensive line
- Fumbled the ball 24 times over the last three years losing 11.
Measurables: 6’5, 224-lbs
- Has the pinpoint accuracy to put the ball into tight areas.
- Has a nice feel for pocket pressure and does a good job of stepping up and out to avoid
- Cool under pressure and is never rattled, despite facing a fierce pass rush.Has complete command of the huddle
- Delivered with accuracy despite being pressured consistently.
- Needs to protect the ball better; had fumble issues
On this play from Matt Ryan, you can see his pocket presence and touch. Ryan keeps his eyes downfield and scans the defense before splitting two defenders and finding his guy for a touchdown.
This is actually a very similar throw from Goff. There is a little more zip on his ball, but he still shows the accuracy and touch as well as poise in the pocket to deliver this ball down field to his receiver for a touchdown.
Walking away from working out Flacco prior to the draft, the Delaware quarterback put the Ravens coaching staff in awe as he completed 45 of 50 passes in bad conditions. To say they were surprised when owner Steve Bisciotti challenged them to draft a different franchise quarterback, Matt Ryan, is an understatement. Biscotti said later,
"“I told those guys that if they had Matt Ryan listed as the best quarterback in the draft, then I’m willing to give up the whole damn draft for him,” Bisciotti said. “I told them there is nothing worse for an owner or for them to be managing a business without a franchise quarterback. I said, ‘I don’t care what we have to pay for him to trade up. We’re getting Matt Ryan.”"
The Ravens didnt see much separation between the quarterbacks and while scouts thought Flacco had a lower floor than Ryan, he had the higher ceiling. Therefore, they decided the quarterback from a small school in Delaware would be their guy.
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Much could be said about this year’s class. There really isn’t that much separation between the two quarterbacks according to the scouting experts. At this point it’s all about preference.
When the Ravens finally drafted Flacco, ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. questioned the pick, knocking the fact that he played in Division I-AA(FCS) against Towson and New Hampshire instead of national powers like Alabama and Texas.
While the Ravens had planned to sit Flacco for his entire rookie year, that didnt really work out. By the third game of the preseason, Flacco went from third string to starter after Smith came down with a serious tonsil infection and Kyle Boller, a former Cal quarterback, suffered a season-ending shoulder injury.
The Falcons meanwhile just needed a franchise quarterback. After Michael Vick went to prison for his dogfighting incident, Atlanta needed a new face of their franchise and they got it with Ryan. They have had a team that has consistently been in contention and were seconds away from going to the Super Bowl in 2013 to face off against Flacco and the Ravens.
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Looking in hindsight, Flacco has proven to be the better quarterback at this point in their careers. During the draft, the thought was always that Ryan was the most pro ready, but Flacco had tremendous upside coming out of Delaware.
Years from now, like Ryan and Flacco now, Wentz and Goff will always be connected. Both could have successful careers, but when one name is mentioned, you can guarantee the other will be mentioned as well.