Jon Gruden assesses Rams quarterback Jared Goff a year after 2016 NFL draft

Rams quarterback Jared Goff is sacked by the Cardinals' D.J. Swearinger during second-half action at the Coliseum on Jan. 1.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

The Rams do not have a first-round pick in next week’s NFL draft, the result of a trade with the Tennessee Titans that enabled them to pick quarterback Jared Goff first overall in 2016.

Former NFL coach Jon Gruden, who annually evaluates quarterbacks during his “Gruden’s QB Camp” for ESPN, assessed Goff a year later.

“Well, you know, Goff, he came out early, a true junior, I don’t think he’s 100% what he’s going to be physically,” Gruden said Wednesday during a teleconference with reporters. “I still think he’s going to get stronger, and he’s going to mature physically.”


Goff, 22, was inactive for the season opener and then sat behind Case Keenum for eight games before he was installed as the starter. The Rams were winless in his seven starts and finished with a 4-12 record.

“I do think that he went into a difficult situation,” Gruden said. “That’s an offensive line that struggled. That is a receiving corps that struggled. And [with] his inexperience, I think that’s a difficult combination for a young quarterback and I think that’s a big reason they were 0-7 when he was the starter.”

As the Rams began off-season workouts last week, Goff said it would be different going into the season as the presumed starter.

“It’s helpful knowing coming into it that who I’ll be working with — the [offensive] line, the receivers, all the people I’ll be working with is helpful,” he said. “At the same time, it’s a daily process to continue to get better.”

New Rams Coach Sean McVay began his coaching career as an assistant under Gruden with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Gruden said McVay, 31, can be successful.

“Sean McVay will come in, I think, and give them a lot of energy, a lot of optimism,” Gruden said. “I think he’ll give them some expertise.

“He’s been good with young quarterbacks. He’s been good with young receivers and young players, and I just think he’s going to bring a real positive upbeat presence to the offensive side of the ball.”

McVay, Gruden said, also made a key decision by bringing in veteran defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.

“Fortunately for him, he’s hired one of the best defensive minds in all of football over the last 25 or 30 years,” Gruden said. “So I think they’ve got a unique battery there: a young, energetic offensive coach who’s proven he can get the job done and a very, very good experienced defensive coach on the other side.”

Follow Gary Klein on Twitter @latimesklein