LOS ANGELES -- Forget improvement; Jared Goff looks like a completely different person.
Goff has thrown for 817 yards in the first three games of his second season, just 278 yards shy of his total through seven starts as a rookie. His five touchdowns already match last year's total. The Los Angeles Rams' 22-year-old quarterback has a 118.2 passer rating, trailing only Kurt Warner (125.0 in 1999) for the best in franchise history through the first three games of a season (minimum 40 attempts).
Goff had his highest career Total QBR by a wide margin against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 1 (65.7), then had his highest career Total QBR by a really wide margin against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 3 (92.3). As a rookie, he completed 54.6 percent of his passes, averaged 5.3 yards per attempt and had a 0.7 touchdown-to-interception ratio, putting his passer rating at 63.6. In his second year, he has completed 70.4 percent of his passes, with an NFL-leading 10.1 yards per attempt, a 5.0 touchdown-to-interception ratio and a passer rating that is nearly double what he had in 2016.
The sample size is still small, of course. It's hard to imagine Goff keeping this pace up, especially when considering that ESPN's Football Power Index had each of his first three opponents ranked within the bottom 11 on defense. But Goff might be primed for a larger-than-usual Year 2 leap because of all that has improved around him, from the coaching staff to the scheme to the offensive line to the receivers.
Below, we took a look at recent quarterbacks taken No. 1 overall to get a sense for how much they improved -- or didn't -- from their first year to their second. We only used those who started at least seven games in each season and selected the last nine. On average, those nine improved their passer ratings by 14.8 percent in Year 2. That kind of improvement would put Goff's 2017 passer rating at 73.0, which is more than 18 points below last year's NFL average.
But none of those quarterbacks saw their second-year surroundings improve as dramatically as Goff did.
2015-16: Jameis Winston
Year 1: 58.3 CMP%, 7.6 Y/A, 1.5 TD/INT, 84.2 Rate
Year 2: 60.8 CMP%, 7.2 Y/A, 1.6 TD/INT, 86.1 Rate
Winston's first career pass was an interception returned for a touchdown. It only got better from there for the highly touted Florida State quarterback. Winston became the first player in NFL history to begin his career with back-to-back 4,000-yard passing seasons. He made the Pro Bowl as a rookie and led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 9-7 season in his second year. Winston improved, albeit slightly, in almost every category in his second year. The exception was turnovers, where he went from 17 to 24.
2012-13: Andrew Luck
Year 1: 54.1 CMP%, 7.0 Y/A, 1.3 TD/INT, 76.5 Rate
Year 2: 60.2 CMP%, 6.7 Y/A, 2.6 TD/INT, 87.0 Rate
Luck threw for 4,374 yards in 2012, the most ever by a rookie. In the regular-season finale of 2013, he broke Cam Newton's record for the most passing yards through a player's first two years, with 8,196. The Stanford star made back-to-back Pro Bowl appearances and led the Colts to consecutive 11-5 records. In the 2013 wild-card round, he capped a Colts rally from 28 down against the Kansas City Chiefs with a 64-yard touchdown pass. Luck's biggest strides in Year 2 came with interceptions, which he trimmed in half.
2011-12: Cam Newton
Year 1: 60.0 CMP%, 7.8 Y/A, 1.2 TD/INT, 84.5 Rate
Year 2: 57.7 CMP%, 8.0 Y/A, 1.6 TD/INT, 86.2 Rate
Newton threw for 854 yards in his first two NFL games and ultimately became the first rookie to throw for 4,000 yards, making the Pro Bowl and winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award. Newton's second year wasn't as dynamic, going from 35 touchdowns -- as a runner and a thrower -- to 27. But he limited his turnovers and finished second in the NFL in yards per attempt in 2012. He threw for 3,869 yards and gained another 741 on the ground for the Carolina Panthers. So, still very good.
2010-11: Sam Bradford
Year 1: 60.0 CMP%, 6.0 Y/A, 1.2 TD/INT, 76.5 Rate
Year 2: 53.5 CMP%, 6.1 Y/A, 1.0 TD/INT, 70.5 Rate
Bradford is the only player on this list who got worse in his second year, but it wasn't entirely his fault. He missed six games with a high ankle sprain in that 2011 season, and the then-St. Louis Rams, ravaged by injuries, finished 2-14, prompting the hiring of Jeff Fisher. Remember him? Expectations were sky high for Bradford coming off his first year, when he set a rookie record for completions (354) and led the Rams to a 7-9 record -- after totaling six wins in the previous three seasons.
2005-06: Alex Smith
Year 1: 50.9 CMP%, 5.3 Y/A, 0.1 TD/INT, 40.8 Rate
Year 2: 58.1 CMP%, 6.5 Y/A, 1.0 TD/INT, 74.8 Rate
Smith is a good comp for Goff because he started only seven games as a rookie, then got a full season in his second year with the 49ers. Smith's quarterback rating improved by more than 85 percent in his second year, the highest on this list. Injuries held him back as a rookie. For his second year, Smith got a new offensive coordinator in Norv Turner and better weapons around him, with Antonio Bryant signed, Vernon Davis drafted and Frank Gore becoming the featured back.
2004-05: Eli Manning
Year 1: 48.2 CMP%, 5.3 Y/A, 0.7 TD/INT, 55.4 Rate
Year 2: 52.8 CMP%, 6.8 Y/A, 1.4 TD/INT, 75.9 Rate
Like Smith, Manning started seven games as a rookie and all 16 in Year 2. And like Smith, Manning improved rather significantly across the board, doubling his touchdown-to-interception rate and increasing his quarterback rating by 37 percent. Manning, who mainly sat behind Kurt Warner as a rookie, finished the 2005 season within the top five in passing yards (3,762) and passing touchdowns (24). He led a high-powered New York Giants offense to an 11-5 record and an NFC East title.
2002-03: David Carr
Year 1: 52.5 CMP%, 5.8 Y/A, 0.6 TD/INT, 62.8 Rate
Year 2: 56.6 CMP%, 6.8 Y/A, 0.7 TD/INT, 69.5 Rate
Carr had the misfortune of being drafted by an expansion team. He operated behind a patchwork offensive line as a rookie, absorbing 76 sacks -- still the most in NFL history -- and fumbling 21 times. Carr didn't perform much better in his second year, either. He started only 11 games. And though his sack total dropped to 15, his interception percentage increased, from 3.4 to 4.4. The Houston Texans went a combined 7-20 with Carr under center in his first two years.
1999-2000: Tim Couch
Year 1: 55.9 CMP%, 6.1 Y/A, 1.2 TD/INT, 73.2 Rate
Year 2: 63.7 CMP%, 6.9 Y/A, 0.8 TD/INT, 77.3 Rate
Like Carr, Couch played for an expansion team; he was drafted by a Cleveland Browns organization that suspended operations during the previous three seasons. And Couch, like Carr, played behind bad offensive lines, taking 56 sacks in 14 starts as a rookie. Couch missed the final nine games of the 2000 season because of a broken thumb. He was starting to show improvement before then, but not much. Ultimately, Couch -- yes, like Carr -- went down as one of the biggest busts in NFL history.
1998-99: Peyton Manning
Year 1: 56.7 CMP%, 6.5 Y/A, 0.9 TD/INT, 71.2 Rate
Year 2: 62.1 CMP%, 7.8 Y/A, 1.7 TD/INT, 90.7 Rate
This guy was no bust, but the future Hall of Fame quarterback took his lumps as a rookie. Manning threw an NFL-leading 28 interceptions -- still the most by a first-year player-- and led the Colts to a 3-13 record in 1998. In Year 2, though, the Colts made an NFL-record 10-game turnaround and won the AFC East. Manning made his first Pro Bowl, going 313-of-533 while throwing for 4,135 yards, 26 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He finished that second season fourth in passer rating.