Three Names to Think about as The Seahawks Next QB

jake_locker

With only four regular-season games left in college football, we’re starting to see the crème de la crème of the nation’s quarterback talent.

In parts one of the five-part series in which I break down and decide which of four of the country’s top collegiate passers the Seahawks should draft this April, I stuck to Colt McCoy, Jevan Sneed, Sam Bradford and Tim Tebow.

Maybe it’s time to be a little less narrow minded and, instead, open up our horizon a bit.

While not tossing out those four from the mix, part three will be spent looking at three others that Seattle could be mulling over as Draft Day approaches.

Jake Locker (Jr. at Washington)

According to Scout’s Inc.’s Top 32, Locker comes in as the fourth best player overall and the nation’s top quarterback prospect.  He’s also one of the semifinalists for the Davey O’Brien Award, an award that is given to the country’s top college quarterback.

Despite playing on a subpar team at Washington, Locker’s been able to prove that his hype hasn’t been overdone.

In each of his three years at the U-Dub, Locker improved his season completion percentage from 47.3 percent in 2007 to 53.8 percent in an injury shortened 2008 campaign to a current percentage of 56.2.

What should be noted is that Washington hasn’t played a schedule of merely creampuff teams.  USC, BYU, LSU, Boise State and Notre Dame have been some of his opponents and against these teams Locker has held his own.

PASSING g cmp-att-int Pct td yards
2007 (FR) vs. Boise State 13-25-1 52.0 1 193
2008 (SO) vs. BYU 17-32-0 53.1 1 204
2008 (SO) vs. Oklahoma 16-24-0 66.7 0 154
2009 (JR) vs. LSU 25-45-1 55.6 2 321
2009 (JR) vs. USC 21-35-0 60.0 0 237
2009 (JR) at Notre Dame 22-40-0 55.0 1 281
PROJECTED 2009 237-422-12 56.2 18 2952

*Courtesy of ESPN.com

Jimmy Clausen (Jr. at Notre Dame)

Like the Huskies, the Fighting Irish have not had the kind of success as they are accustomed to.  That hasn’t stopped Clausen though, as he ranks second in Heisman Watch ESPN Experts’ Poll and is eighth overall and the second quarterback listed on the Scout Inc.’s Top 32.

Like Washington’s Locker, Clausen is one of 15 semifinalists for the Davey O’Brien Award.

Clausen could easily be the first quarterback taken in this year’s NFL Draft, should he decide to turn pro.  His ability to not only complete high percentages of his passes but also his propensity of making the big play and his leadership skills are everything that a head coach and general manager would kill to have.

PASSING g cmp-att-int Pct td yards avg/g
2007 10 138-245-6 56.3 7 1254 125.4
2008 13 268-440-17 60.9 25 3172 244.0
2009 7 150-230-2 65.2 16 2050 292.8
PROJECTED 2009 257-394-3 65.2 27 3514

*Courtesy of ESPN.com

Case Keenum (Jr. at Houston)

Although not ranked in Scout Inc.’s Top 32, Keenum comes in at sixth overall in the Heisman Watch ESPN Experts’ Poll.

A couple of things immediately stick out about Keenum that make him an intriguing second- or third-round selection in this year’s NFL Draft, should Keenum decide to declare.

The first is his completion percentage and his touchdown totals.  By now you all should know I love statistics, but not because I’m a junkie or anything like that.  If you look close enough, stats can really tell a lot about how a player thinks and reacts, among other things in various situations, environments and against various levels of competition.  Despite playing in Conference USA, Keenum has played some quality out-of-conference teams and has done well, especially this year.

PASSING g cmp-att-int Pct td yards
2009 (JR) at Oklahoma State 32-46-1 69.6 3 366
2009 (JR) vs. Texas Tech 38-58-1 65.5 1 435

*Courtesy of ESPN.com

Just like the previous two quarterbacks I’ve discussed, Keenum is one of the remaining 15 vying for the coveted Davey O’Brien Award.  That’s because he is a poor man’s Jimmy Clausen/Colt McCoy.  He has the ability to air it out, his completion percentage is outstanding, he excels in hostile road environments and, in an especially similar characteristic to McCoy, he has the arm strength to toss 40+ balls on a regular basis because his arm is the focal point of his team’s offensive attack.  The reason why I call him the “poor man’s” version of these two big-time quarterbacks is that he’s flown relatively under the radar because of the conference he plays in, something that could prove to be beneficial for the Seahawks if they wanted to draft him later in the first round or even in the second.

PASSING g cmp-att-int Pct td yards avg/g
2007 13 187-273-10 68.5 14 2259 173.7
2008 13 397-589-11 67.4 44 5020 386.1
2009 7 241-344-4 70.1 20 2734 390.5
PROJECTED 2009 413-590-7 70.1 34 4687

*Courtesy of ESPN.com

Rankings

Just looking at these three quarterbacks, this is how I would rank them in terms of who I want wearing a Seahawks logo on his helmet next year.

  1. Jimmy Clausen
  2. Case Keenum
  3. Jake Locker

Clausen is a stud and I think he could be the next Peyton Manning.  If he lands on a team with a good-to-above-average pass catcher or two and even an alright running back, Clausen should be able to take the team into the playoffs sooner rather than later.

Keenum really intrigues me because of what he’s done at Houston, but, more importantly, because he could possibly come later in the first round or even in the second round.  If Seattle could snag him in the second round, the Seahawks could spend one of their first round selections on an offensive lineman.  The offensive line is getting older and is constantly riddled with injuries.  Bringing in one of the country’s top collegiate linemen to help improve the unit both immediately and down the road is something that should be seriously considered.  With Seattle’s second first-round selection, the team could fill its other glaring need, a top-line running back.  The thought of improving both the offensive line and at running back while still being able to get an elite quarterback is amazing.

In terms of Locker, I’m just not sold on the guy.  Yes, he’s very skilled, but I just don’t see him performing well at the next level.  Ever since he came out of high school people were comparing him to Tim Tebow and I never have thought that Tebow, although an amazingly athletic football player, is the kind of quarterback that I would want running my pro team’s offense.  Look at how well Alex Smith, a similar quarterback to Tebow in abilities, has done at the professional level.  Option and spread-style quarterbacks just have not cut it at the NFL level.


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2 Responses to “Three Names to Think about as The Seahawks Next QB”

  1. landry360 says:

    You are forgetting about Sam Bradford. It is widely rumored that Mike Holmgren will be coming back as GM. If that is the case, I just heard him on KJR 950 am in Seattle talking about the upcoming draft class. He has his sites set on Sam Bradford. He says of all of the guys that could come out, Sam has the best upside.

    He also went on to state that he himself had the same injury as Bradford during his senior year in college and expects Sam to be fine come draft time.

    With Bradford’s injury and Holmgren taking the ropes, Bradford may slide into the second round and could be a steal for Seattle. This would also allow for the Hawks to focus on other areas of importance, ie., O line and running back.

  2. landry360 says:

    Also I would rate Locker ahead of the other two simply because he’s the home town kid and that plays a huge factor. When it’s the Hawks turn to draft and he’s on the board still…there will be a tremendous amount of pressure on the Hawks to take Locker.