2011 NFL Draft Player Profile | Jake Locker
Jake Locker began his tenure at Washington as a fairly one-dimensional quarterback who could run with the best of them, but clearly needed work as a pure quarterback.
He gradually evolved, but the knocks of playing in a weak conference and guiding a below-average team weighed him down, encouraging him to return for his senior season. Locker regressed after a stellar junior year, and while he flashed immense talent throughout his college career, his final season also proved further that he is still as work in progress.
Player Name: Jake Locker
Hand: 9 5/8
Locker is fully equipped to go to battle at the next level. He has great size, a big arm, can make all the throws, and possesses excellent mobility. He’s proven he can stay healthy with two solid seasons following a major knee injury, and while he played for bad Washington teams, he clearly elevated his team’s level of play often.
Locker is pro-ready with experience in a Pro Style offense, while he possesses great footwork and a nice, quick release. His throwing mechanics, while in question early in his college career, have improved to the point where he doesn’t resort to taking off and running (although he can). He has displayed discipline and poise in the pocket, while showing he can lead receivers and hit targets from anywhere on the field.
Locker has all the physical tools and intangibles needed to succeed at the next level, along with size, build, and leadership ability. However, there are still some flaws to his game. While his college statistics shouldn’t necessarily reflect the type of player he can become at the next level, they still warrant a close look.
With no season in four years with over 59% of completed passes, Locker faces accuracy and decision-making questions. Were some of his tough years in Washington truly because a lack of talent, or was it because he found it difficult to maximize his own talent and the talent around him? While that notion is a bit of a reach, it’s never been a secret that Locker is confident in his arm strength and ability, and will routinely force the issue on many of his passes.
Locker has battled with consistency issues for nearly his entire college career, and has also struggled with reading defenses. Both of these flaws are common for all rookies, but they may be magnified for Locker because of his decision to return to Washington for his senior year, and then having a season that didn’t meet expectations. Locker also seems to struggle setting his feet and making accurate throws on a consistent basis. He’s often more accurate throwing on the run, where he’s more comfortable. Unfortunately, he won’t be able to get away with that in the NFL against much faster defenses. Locker will need to work on his timing with receivers, and ability to read the defense in order to succeed at the next level. He tends to stare down his receivers from time to time, ending up in an interception or batted pass.
Many draft experts will knock Locker for the obvious flaws: interceptions, reading defenses, and lack of wins in four seasons. However, one could easily point to former Vanderbilt quarterback Jay Cutler, who experience much of the same problems, but had the tools and make-up to be a quality passer at the next level. Locker clearly has some work to do, but his talent is too good for him to slip far, regardless of how picky scouts can be. His size and ability alone will keep him in the first round, and his potential and a good NFL Combine could even push him into the top 10.
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