Jared Goff and Carson Wentz are excited about first meeting on the field

They will be forever linked as quarterbacks selected No. 1 and No. 2 in the 2016 NFL draft.

They share the same agents, remain in contact via occasional text messages and track each other from afar.

Jared Goff of the Rams and Carson Wentz of the Philadelphia Eagles will play against each other Sunday for the first time when their division-leading teams meet at the Coliseum.

If Goff and Wentz continue to perform as they have this season, it could be the first of many marquee matchups between the ascending stars.

“It’ll be fun,” Goff said Wednesday during a news conference in Thousand Oaks. “It’ll be good to see him, good to talk to him and good to compete on the same field.

“But ultimately … I’m competing against their defense and he’s competing against ours.”

Wentz echoed Goff’s thoughts.

“We’re both excited for this game and just for those matchups in the future,” Wentz said during a teleconference with reporters, adding, “They’re a great football team, and so are we right now, so there’s lot riding on this one. … A lot more at stake than just me versus Jared.”

The Rams are 9-3, atop the NFC West and on track for their first playoff appearance since 2004.

The Eagles are 10-2 and lead the NFC East — with a chance to clinch a playoff spot Sunday and maintain or improve their status as the No. 2 seed in the conferencebehind the Minnesota Vikings (10-2).

The Rams and Eagles are tied for the league lead in scoring, averaging 30.1 points a game. Amajor reason is quarterback play.

Second-year Eagles coach Doug Pederson has been impressed with Goff’s development.

“It’s fun to watch, quite honestly,” Pederson said. “Just to see the growth in his play and all the things that we saw in him when we were scouting and working him out and evaluating all these quarterbacks a year ago, this is exactly what we saw.”

As the Washington Redskins’ offensive coordinator in 2016, Sean McVay saw Wentz play as a rookie. Now, as the Rams’ coach, he and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips are game-planning against him.

“The growth has been extremely impressive to watch,” McVay said of Wentz. “It’s why he’s in consideration — he’s talked about as one of the best in the league.

“He’s getting a variety of playmakers involved. Then, he can create on-schedule or off-schedule and when things happen and break down … it’s a scary thing for most defenses and he’s made a lot of big plays doing it that way.”

Goff, 23, and Wentz, 24, became entwined during the run-up to the draft. They worked out together at times in Orange County, and became the focus of a media crush when the Rams traded to the top of the draft so they could select a quarterback.

The following week, the Eagles traded into the No. 2 spot.

Speculation mounted over whether the Rams would select Goff, who had played three seasons at California, or Wentz, who had completed his fifth season at North Dakota State.

The Rams worked out and interviewed both, ultimately choosing Goff on draft night in Chicago.

“We both weren’t exactly 100% where we were going,” Wentz said. “I think we both kind of had a pretty good idea where it would end up, but we still were waiting for that call when the Rams were on the clock.”

When the Eagles tabbed Wentz, it marked the seventh time in NFL history that quarterbacks were selected with the first and second picks in the draft.

It did not take long for many to deem the Rams’ choice a mistake.

Goff joined a Rams team that included quarterbacks Case Keenum and Nick Foles. The Rams released Foles on the eve of training camp, but Goff sat behind Keenum for nine games before coach Jeff Fisher elevated him to a starting role.

Goff completed 55% of his passes for 1,089 yards and five touchdowns, with seven interceptions, in seven winless starts. He was sacked 26 times as the Rams finished 4-12.

The arrival of offense-minded McVay, receivers such as Robert Woods, Sammy Watkins and Cooper Kupp, and offensive linemen Andrew Whitworth and John Sullivan aided Goff’s development.

He has completed 62% of his passes for 3,184 yards and 20 touchdowns, with six interceptions.

“Seeing him on tape and everything, you just see some of the throws he makes and some of the things they’re doing offensively down there,” Wentz said.

Wentz initially joined an Eagles team that included quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel, so it appeared he also might sit for a while behind the veterans.

But on the eve of the season, the Eagles traded Bradford to the Minnesota Vikings, who had lost quarterback Teddy Bridgewater because of a season-ending knee injury.

Pederson named Wentz the starter and the rookie got off to a fast start, leading the Eagles to three consecutive wins, including a 34-3 rout of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Wentz started every game during a 7-9 season, completing 63% of his passes for 3,782 yards and 16 touchdowns, with 14 interceptions. He was sacked 33 times.

He has built on the experience this season, completing 61% of his passes for 3,005 yards and a league-high 29 touchdowns, with six interceptions.

Goff has been impressed by “everything” Wentz is doing.

“Especially his ability to extend plays and make plays outside the pocket,” Goff said. “I know that’s always something he was always really good at and is continuing to get really good at.

“A lot of respect for him and what he’s done. He’s one guy who has really worked his way into everything he’s earned … and expecting him to continue to keep getting better.”

With their play this season, the two young quarterbacks are raising their already high profiles.

Wentz is the leading vote-getter by fans among all players for the Pro Bowl. Goff ranks ninth.

The result of their shared 2016 draft saga has worked out well for both.

“We both ended up where we’re supposed to be and in great situations,” Wentz said, “and I think they’re perfect fits for both of us.”


Follow Gary Klein on Twitter @latimesklein

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