There is a quarterback in Berkeley who is blowing college football away. He was raised in Northern California, has the size and speed NFL coaches drool over and he's expected to be taken with a high first round pick in the NFL draft. The San Francisco 49ers have a quarterback position up for grabs and they have one of the best picks in the draft. Perfect fit right?
No, this isn't 2005 and we are not talking about Aaron Rodgers. His name is Jared Goff and he should be the first draft pick for the 49ers in this year's draft.
There's no denying the past season in Santa Clara/San Francisco has been a huge disappointment. Listing all the pro bowl talent who left the team in the offseason is getting tiring - you know who they lost and they didn't come close to making up for it. They need help in almost every position on both offense and defense.
So this begs the question, who do they draft with the X pick, Goff, or another top priority position such as offensive lineman?
There are two philosophical beliefs when it comes to building a team through the draft. Start with the high skill players and develop the other positions around them, or build a foundation with linemen and then draft skilled players around them.
There are only seven rounds and 53 guys on a roster, so you can't plug all the holes with one draft, however, the order in which you select the top needed positions can make or break your results.
There have been rumblings of the offensive line being the top priority for the 49ers - which makes sense, they've allowed a league-high 52 sacks through 15 games this year - but who do they pick?Or is free agency/trade the best place to get veteran linemen?
Or do they tap into the wide receiver pool? General manger Trent Baalke has tried to draft that position before and so far it's been another disappointment. A.J. Jenkins, Bruce Ellington, Quinton Patton, etc have all been underwhelming since being drafted, can Baalke break the streak and find a top receiver?
All those questions are valid - this team needs help in an assortment of areas, but Goff is a once in a decade quarterback with all the tools to develop into a star. The 49ers passed on 49er fan and local kid Rodgers in 2005. Since then, he has been a Super Bowl champion and is easily a top-5 quarterback in the league. The 49ers shouldn't make the same mistake twice.
Now, let's not get too hyped on Goff as the 49ers savior, because odds are he won't be the quarterback he was in college for his first couple years in the NFL. However, if he sits on the bench, refines his skills for a season or so behind a veteran quarterback being used as a stopgap (Gabbert would be a guy in mind), he can eventually lead this team.
The 49ers will most likely land a pick between No. 3 and No. 5 behind the Tennessee Titans (who drafted their own future QB Marcus Mariota last year) and the Cleveland Browns (who have Johnny Manziel...), and Goff will probably be sitting in the 49ers lap by the time they make their selection.
Let's get into numbers, Goff threw 529 times in 13 games with a completion percentage of 64.5. What is amazing is his 4714 passing yards and 43 touchdowns with only 13 interceptions in a heavy passing offense. He was easily the best quarterback in the Pac-12, and could be considered one of the best in the nation.
If the 49ers front office is smart this spring, they will draft Goff and build around him. There is still lots of young talent on this team, it's time they start to develop into another dynasty.
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