Goff is the 22nd quarterback taken with the first overall pick in the common draft era (since 1967) and the first Cal quarterback to land in the first round since the Green Bay Packers took Aaron Rodgers at No. 24 in 2005.
Rodgers tweeted congratulations to Goff after the pick was announced.
— Aaron Rodgers (@AaronRodgers12) April 29, 2016
In a interview with ESPN just before the draft began, Goff said he was a San Francisco 49ers fan growing up and would like to wear the No. 16 with the Rams in honor of Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana. Goff also wore the number at California.
The Rams’ choice comes after the the team, which is returning to Los Angeles this season after relocating from St. Louis, traded two first-, two second- and two third-round picks to the Tennessee Titans to move from No. 15 to No. 1. The Rams also received fourth- and sixth-round picks this year from Tennessee.
After moving up for the first pick, the Rams remained tight-lipped about their preference between Goff and North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz with coach Jeff Fisher repeatedly saying that he didn’t want to tip the pick and deny the chosen player the chance to get the phone call from the team telling him he’s the guy.
Wentz was selected No. 2 overall by the Philadelphia Eagles, who had acquired the pick in a trade with the Cleveland Browns earlier this month. Defensive end Joey Bosa went No. 3 overall to the San Diego Chargers.
Goff told ESPN after he was selected that it was an “unbelievable moment” to get the call from the Rams and said he’s “very excited” to play in Los Angeles.
The Rams also used the first pick on quarterback Sam Bradford in 2010. He played for the team through 2014 and was traded to Philadelphia in 2015 for Nick Foles and a second-round pick after a pair of season-ending knee injuries.
In choosing Goff, the Rams are hoping that he’ll be able to improve a fledgling quarterback group that ranks last in the NFL in Total QBR since 2007. The Rams haven’t had a quarterback go to the Pro Bowl since Marc Bulger in 2006.
The Rams bottomed out at the position in 2015, ranking last in the league in passing yards (2,805),QBR (35.6),yards per attempt (6.2) and passing touchdowns (11).
In three seasons as the starter at Cal, Goff had more completions, passing yards and touchdowns than any quarterback in school history. He threw for 4,719 yards and 43 touchdowns in 2015 and owns 26 school records.
Goff comes from Cal’s “Bear Raid” spread offense in which he spent more than 99 percent of his time taking snaps out of the shotgun. That means he’ll have an adjustment to make upon arrival in Los Angeles, as the Rams were in shotgun or pistol formation on fewer plays than any team in the NFL in 2015.
At 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, Goff also drew questions about his hand size during the pre-draft process, many of which stemmed from his 23 fumbles (11 lost) in three seasons.
Now that Goff is in the fold, attention will turn to how soon Goff takes over as the starter. The Rams used a first-round tender to retain Case Keenum as a restricted free agent and he could serve as a short-term bridge until the Rams decide Goff is ready.
Fisher said before the draft that whichever quarterback the Rams take would not play before he’s ready.
In the meantime, the Rams will likely have to delete a quarterback from the roster at some point. That’s expected to be Foles, who the team is hoping to trade. A league source said Thursday that “four or five” teams have already reached out and will keep in touch over the next couple of days as those teams pick quarterbacks or miss out on them throughout the draft. The Rams paid Foles a $6 million roster bonus in March.