CHICAGO — Jared Goff always did look good in Cal blue and gold. The first pick in the NFL draft didn’t look too bad in Los Angeles Rams blue and yellow on Thursday, either, even if the colors weren’t quite the same.
Truth is, Goff would look a lot better in 49ers’ red and gold right now. In many ways, the franchise needed him. Their fans wanted him. If the quarterback turns out to be anything close to Aaron Rodgers, another Cal star who got away, the Niners will rue the day they sat on their thumbs and allowed it to happen.
It won’t take long for Santa Clara to get its first glimpse of what might have been. The Rams will be there for week one’s late Monday Nighter.
Think the NFL doesn’t have a sense for drama?
“I look forward to it,” Goff said. “I’ll work hard. Hopefully, I’ll play some.”
Two hours into the whirlwind, Balls was almost as tired as Goff as he followed the kid from room to room at the Auditorium Theater. He was escorted to one interview after another, answered many of the same questions with the words “awesome” and “excited” over and over again. One lackey even called him “Carson” as in Wentz, who went to the Philadelphia Eagles one pick later.
What will Goff buy with his millions? A sports car? A mansion? A small island?
“A massage chair,” Goff said with a wry smile after some thought.
If Goff seemed overwhelmed by it all, nobody could blame him. Finally, he tilted the Rams ballcap on his head, put his head down then rubbed his weary face with his hands in the corner of a room.
“Yeah, I’m excited it’s over,” Goff said. “I’m happy it’s behind me. At the same time, it’s only the beginning, only the beginning of what I hope to be a long career.”
Then again, maybe it’s just as well that Goff is headed to SoCal instead of NorCal. The blond bomber can make a bigger impact in L.A., which has a star addiction like nowhere else. If the Rams are to make it, they have to win and win now.
It won’t be easy. Like the Niners, the Rams have holes. Unlike the Niners, they have an elite runner in Todd Gurley and a competitive defense.
If Goff can stay upright — and that may be the biggest if of all — the Niners may never hear the end of it.
’BOUT TIME: Quarterbacks Blake Bortles, Derek Carr and Ben Roethlisberger were quick to contact Goff and welcome him aboard. The kid even received a Twitter shoutout from Rodgers, who snubbed him while he was in college.
“That’s good to hear,” Goff said. “I’m a big fan of his. I’m flattered he did that. It’s awesome. I appreciate that.”
WHO KNEW?: The draft was held in downtown Chicago, five miles from where Jared’s father Jerry hit his first major league home run at Wrigley Field as a Montreal Expos catcher nearly 26 years ago.
DUCK DYNASTY: Who says the Niners still can’t see DeForest through the trees?
In round one, Oregon defensive lineman DeForest Buckner was the safe pick. He joined Arik Armstead, another Oregon product who was taken in the first round last year. Coach Chip Kelly also is an Oregon guy, and if you think his fingerprints are all over this one, you’re probably right.
In a deal with the Kansas City Chiefs, general manger Trent Baalke traded up to land Stanford guard Joshua Garnett at the 28th pick. Garnett is a road grader who does his best work in the run game, but will second-, fourth- and sixth-round picks turn out to be a steep price? Stay tuned.
In round one, Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie wasted no time to select highly regarded safety Karl Joseph (West Virginia) as a replacement for the retired Charles Woodson in the secondary.
QB OR NOT TO BE: Baalke and Kelly still haven’t addressed the problem at quarterback, so it doesn’t matter who they draft, really.
If Colin Kaepernick is a no-go for training camp due to multiple health issues, that would leave Blaine Gabbert, Thad Thompson and Dylan Lewis to compete for the starter position. Or maybe it’s Thad Lewis and Dylan Thompson, Balls forgets.
So if the Niners can’t have Goff, then how ’bout Nick Foles, one of his caddies?
The Rams have four quarterbacks, and Foles appears to be the odd man out. Foles and Kelly spent two seasons together in Philadelphia, where they had the greatest success in their NFL careers. Foles posted a 14-4 record and threw more than three times as many touchdowns (40) as interceptions (12), but Kelly considered him to be good but not great. That led to the Sam Bradford trade, and we know how that turned out.
Foles is only 27 years old, familiar with Kelly and his system and far more accomplished than anybody on the roster right now. Yeah, it hurts to get kicked to the curb, but would the guy rather start or compete against Case Keenum for a back-up job?
“It’s tough when you’re somewhere and a team lets you go,” Foles told Yahoo Sports last summer. “I get that part of it. But I had a great relationship with Chip, and I’ll leave it at that.”
Turns out Baalke and the Niners are still on the clock.
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