Position Ranking: #3
Strengths: Has the ideal measurables and playing demeanor for a professional quarterback; looks the part. Very strong armed and can make all the NFL throws. Shows that he can throw the football 45 yards off his back foot and puts enough zip on throws to fit passes in small coverage windows at every layer of the field. Very effective on the move, squares shoulders and is accurate on the short, intermediate, and deep.
Shows good command of his huddle and plays with confidence even when his team is down. Has good touch & timing on his intermediate throws as he develops a rythm. Very good zip on intermediate routes inside and outside the numbers. Shows over the top release point on throws and has a quick enough release. Athleticism is very good for a quarterback and is said to be able to run a 4.4 40 yard dash. Picks up speed as he runs and can blow by linebackers who fall asleep on Locker’s running ability. High character player who is loved and respected by coaches and teammates. Shows natural leadership skills.
Needs Improvement: Still isn’t comfortable making plays inside the pocket. Doesn’t always see the entire field and can be slow to locate the open receiver after his first read. Mechanics are still a work in progress and will throw off back foot when pressure builds around him. Accuracy seems to be a consistent problem as he tends to lead his receiver too far or throw behind them on too many occasions.
Will force throws into double coverage and doesn’t always seem to pick-up quickly on disguises in coverage. The game hasn’t seemed to slow down for him as a 5th year senior; looks confused and hurried when he should be poised and collected. Takes off to run and leaves his progressions too early, not trusting the play to develop. Is still too dependent on his athleticism over arm and playcall development.
Bottom Line: Jake Locker was a somewhat frustrating player in evaluations because there are times where he flashes big time ability as both a passer and an athlete, showing shades of great quarterbacks Steve Young and John Elway. Those times aren’t often enough though and he still looks like he’s learning the basic nuances of the quarterback position even after two seasons of running the same playbook. After looking back at last years games it became evident to me that Locker has regressed as a passer this season in both his progression reads and technique; he was sharper in 2009. To his credit Locker keeps his head high and will go down with the ship. He hasn’t been surrounded by great talent and never outwardly blamed teammates for mistakes.
While his physical tools and leadership abilities are big time strengths, his football intelligence and pocket instincts are currently below adequate and he may never become a natural in this regard. His upside will be hard for quarterback needy teams to ignore and Locker will surely be impressive during the interview process and workout portions leading to the draft . The team that selects Locker must give him time to learn, and put him in an offensive system that allows him to move outside the pocket and take advantages of his athletic strengths until the mental part comes around. His arm strength, athleticism, and intangibles are what will likely make him an early pick. His effort and work ethic will never be questioned.
Draft Projection: mid 1st to mid 2nd round