-- By virtually every measure, the top two quarterbacks in the 2016 draft are Cal's Jared Goff and North Dakota State's Carson Wentz. The Rams, who last week traded up to snag the No. 1 pick, will meet with both Goff and Wentz ahead of next week's draft.
But we're not waiting until next week to make the decision the Rams have to make.
We asked 13 of ESPN's NFL writers, analysts and front-office experts to pick the best quarterback in the draft, Goff or Wentz, and to explain why one of them is ahead on their draft board. The results are below, and you can cast your vote here.
Mark Dominik, NFL Front Office Insider: I am a Goff guy. The areas where he needs to develop are all football-related. From a mechanics standpoint, he has the raw tools you look for in young quarterback prospects. Plus, his football intelligence and passion for the game are clear positives. Goff and Wentz can develop into good quarterbacks, but Wentz is in store for a much tougher transition than people realize.
Louis Riddick, NFL Front Office Insider: Goff has superior feet in the pocket, rush awareness, poise and accuracy under pressure. He also has superb decision-making, touch and accuracy at all three levels. This kid took a beating and never flinched. He has a Joe Montana-like presence in his movement and demeanor. He will get bigger and stronger, and his hand-size issues are overblown. He just needs the right pieces around him, and he will have a great career.
Steve Palazzolo, Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus: Goff is the best quarterback in this draft because he already has the translatable skills necessary to succeed at the next level. He has excellent pocket presence and excels throwing to all levels with quick decision-making and anticipation. Wentz, on the other hand, sometimes lacks timing, throwing late while trying to make up for it with his strong arm. He doesn't show the same pocket movement or ability to make big throws under pressure that Goff makes regularly. While there are plenty of things to like about Wentz on tape, there is still a lot of projection to his game, and he has to develop more before he has a chance to surpass Goff.
Aaron Schatz, Editor-in-Chief of Football Outsiders: Our QBASE projection system makes it very clear: Goff is by far a better risk than Wentz. Goff has a higher floor and a higher ceiling. QBASE ranks Goff as the No. 9 quarterback prospect of the last two decades. He had far better production than Wentz in college, despite playing in tougher circumstances. By our estimates, Cal played the 30th-toughest schedule of opposing defenses out of 128 teams in FBS last year. Wentz completed fewer passes for fewer yards per attempt against an FCS schedule. Frankly, neither quarterback was surrounded by NFL-caliber talent; Wentz had FCS-level blockers and receivers, but Cal is not Alabama either. Kenny Lawler is the only Cal receiver or lineman projected to be chosen in the first four rounds of this year's draft.
Steve Muench, NFL Draft Analyst: Goff might need more time to transition, but he has shown the ability to get through progressions and manipulate coverages. He also has the quick feet to effectively drop from under center. While he's not as much of a threat to scramble as Wentz, Goff has a slight edge in terms of buying time in the pocket and finding the open man when the protection starts to break down, which is an important trait. Goff also has the edge in experience, both in terms of games played and the level of competition he faced. Finally, Goff needs to continue to bulk up and improve his ability to take punishment, but he didn't miss a college game with an injury. He gets the edge over Wentz.
Kevin Weidl, NFL Draft Analyst: I give the edge to Goff, but it's close, and there is an argument to be made for both. Goff has one of the smoothest releases I have studied in a while, and he is the more naturally accurate thrower. More important, though, he has better pocket presence, which I believe is one of the most important baseline traits when evaluating quarterbacks. Goff feels pressure naturally and does a nice job of maintaining quality eye level to work through progressions while avoiding the rush. On the flip side, Wentz comes with better measurables, more mobility and comes from a more NFL-friendly offense. Goff and Wentz will need time to develop, but I believe both have the skill set and makeup to become quality starters if they are put in the proper environment to succeed.
John Clayton, Senior NFL Writer: While I think the small-college criticism of Wentz is overrated -- a good quarterback is a good quarterback, regardless of the competition -- there are several things about Goff I like, including his compact, quick arm release and great accuracy. To some degree, Goff reminds me of Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. It doesn't hurt either that Browns coach Hue Jackson knows the Cal program well.
Field Yates, NFL Insider: At the end of the day, neither Goff nor Wentz profiles as a quarterback who will change the fortunes of his new franchise from the first day he takes the field. But when pressed to choose one or the other, I tilt the scales toward Goff, and it comes down to a few traits that stand out on film: exceptional footwork and feel for the pocket, paired with an effortless arm. Enduring a 1-11 season as a freshman at Cal will help him deal with the hardship a rookie quarterback experiences at the NFL level.
Final tally for those in favor of Goff: 9
Todd McShay, NFL Draft Analyst: From what I'm hearing, I think Los Angeles will take Goff, but I give a slight edge to Wentz. He's bigger, stronger and more mobile outside the pocket. Though he comes from an FCS school in North Dakota State, the system he played in transfers to the NFL much better than the Air Raid scheme that Goff played in at Cal. Wentz and Goff both have great work ethics and mental/physical toughness, and their natural accuracy translates well to the next level.
Bill Polian, NFL Front Office Insider: This is a tough call. Wentz has size, an excellent arm, a winning track record and outstanding intelligence. The problem is that he has not faced top competition. Goff, on the other hand, has played at the highest level, but Cal wasn't great and didn't win many games. He has excellent height and great bloodlines; his father, Jerry, was a pro baseball player. He also has exceptionally quick and active feet, a very fast release and good accuracy. He plays in a pure spread system, and as a result he is often under duress from rushers. He extends plays well and sees and scans the field exceptionally. In the end, the level-of-competition argument favors Goff, and the size argument favors Wentz. If you put a gun to my head and forced me to make a pick, it would be Wentz based on size alone. Then again, if you put the gun down I might change my mind. I think both players have what it takes to succeed in the NFL.
Matt Bowen, NFL Writer: Give me Wentz and his upside. He has the pro size (6-foot-5, 237 pounds), arm strength and footwork that translate to Sundays based on his college tape. Wentz took full advantage of the Senior Bowl practices to showcase his skill set and then followed with a solid workout at the combine. Accuracy, anticipation and the velocity to rip the ball outside of the numbers -- he checks all the boxes. This is a tough quarterback, a guy who played in a pro-style, multiple system. He has the football IQ to make the jump. Is he ready to start slinging the ball around as a rookie? I don't see it -- yet. He needs some time before being thrown into the fire. The size and talent, however, are there. And he could be a really good pro if he's not forced onto the field too early.
Adam Caplan, NFL Insider: When speaking with various NFL executives about both quarterbacks over several weeks, it has become clear that most prefer Wentz over Goff. Wentz has the best tools of any quarterback in this draft in terms of arm strength, size and athleticism. While Wentz played at a much lower level of college football than Goff, evaluators love that he played in a pro-style system, which should help project him well to the next level. That's not to say that Goff isn't a solid prospect -- he is -- but Goff doesn't possess the same high-end traits as Wentz.
Final tally for those in favor of Wentz: 4