ANAHEIM, Calif. — Chocolate and vanilla ice cream will finally battle it out this weekend at the LA Coliseum.
That was the way Eagles vice president of football operations Howie Roseman compared Jared Goff and Carson Wentz just before the 2016 draft. The Eagles had just traded up to the No. 2 pick and Roseman said the Eagles would be happy with either quarterback.
That, of course, was hogwash.
The Eagles wanted Wentz all along and when they traded up to that second spot, they knew the Rams were using their pick on Goff.
Things have worked out pretty well for both. As Wentz and Goff prepare to face off this weekend in Los Angeles, both have their teams at the top of the standings of their respective NFC divisions.
While the young QBs are trying to stay focused on facing good defenses this week, they understand why the first game between the top two picks of the 2016 draft is such a big storyline.
"I think it's exciting," Wentz said from Angel Stadium on Wednesday afternoon (Get an inside look at the baseball diamond turned football field). "I think it's exciting any time two quarterbacks like this face off. Offense is playing their defense and vice versa, but I think it's definitely exciting for the league. Jared and I are both excited about it."
Wentz and Goff actually know each other pretty well. They share the same agency (Rep1 Sports) and worked out together during the 2016 pre-draft process. Wentz thought the natural competition before the draft helped both prospects.
Goff did meet with the Eagles leading up to the draft a year ago and was actually with them when the Rams traded up to the No. 1 spot. He said he enjoyed the coaching staff.
Wentz and Goff became friends over those few months in the spring of 2016 and have kept in touch since. During the season, both are busy so communication is limited, but they have texted a few times.
"I'm very happy for [Wentz] and everything he's accomplished so far this year and through his career, including last year," Goff said on a conference call with Philly reporters on Wednesday. "Everything he's done, it's all been earned. He's worked really hard to get where he's at, just from my brief experience with him."
Wentz said he will always follow Goff's career, but not because they'll be forever linked. He said he'll follow his career because the two are friends.
It's been pretty easy for them to follow one another this season. Their two teams have already faced six common opponents, so while watching game tape of opposing defenses, Wentz and Goff have been able to see the other plenty.
"I think the biggest thing is he's accurate," Wentz said. "He makes some throws that are impressive and he's accurate and he's pretty decisive. It's fun to see how far he's come in this year and to kind of see him develop."
The two have been great so far this season:
Goff: 9-3 record, 62.2 completion percentage, 3,184 yards, 20, TDs, 6 INTs.
Wentz: 10-2 record, 60.7 completion percentage, 3,005 yards, 29 TDs, 6 INTs.
While their numbers have been similar this year, Wentz got off to a much hotter start in his career in 2016. The big reason for that was probably his surroundings. Wentz landed in a spot with nearly unlimited resources to help a quarterback. Goff didn't. He had a defensive head coach and a former tight ends coach as his offensive coordinator.
New head coach Sean McVay, along with an infusion of talent, has done wonders for Goff's career.
"Very similar to what makes Carson so special, Jared had those traits, those characteristics," McVay said. "They just needed to pull them out."
Eagles rookie wide receiver Mack Hollins shares the same agency as Goff and Wentz. While he knows Wentz really well, he has met Goff and thinks he's a really nice guy.
Hollins knows both of them well enough to understand that neither will get swept up in the No. 1 pick vs. No. 2 hoopla this week.
"I think it's a really fun storyline for you guys," Goff said. "For us internally, we're focused on trying to win the game and do everything we can this week to best prepare ourselves to beat the Eagles."