Friday, 11 December 2009

Jake Locker - top five pick?

My knowledge of Jake Locker (QB, Washington) is relatively limited - I've had no access to Huskies games this year so to date, I've been unable to offer a critique on the guy who could easily be the most intriguing quarterback prospect legible for the 2010 draft. There's some debate if Locker will declare or not, but with the January deadline looming we're likely to find out soon. It's a difficult one for Locker - stay in school and spend another year learning your trade in a pro-style offense or head for the NFL knowing what happened to Sam Bradford this year.

Matt McGuire at Walterfootball.com has watched Locker, and he offers this review today: "He is a highly unpolished prospect, but has shown the potential and intangibles to warrant a team believing he can develop. He will be a top-five pick."

I've got him at #4 in my rankings right now on the basis of what others have said, McGuire's words included. Is it justified? Should the Seahawks be looking to keep Locker in Seattle if he does choose to declare? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.

13 comments:

Anthony said...

If we are truly committed to taking a QB in this draft and Locker declares he is the one I want. It simply boils down to the fact that he is the most talented and I like his intangibles better than the other ones. The only other QB I would even be interested in is Sam Bradford.

Personally, unless we picked up Bradford with a second round pick I hope we stay away from a QB in this draft. I think Colt McCoy is a right handed David Greene, Tebow may never be a full-time QB, and I simply don't like Clausen.

Also, a final point, I would be scared to death to take Locker since he is a home-grown product and because he is so unpolished. Personally I think we would learn a lot about him if he stays in school another year.

Go Hawks!

Anonymous said...

My take is that many fans in the Pacific NW want him on the Hawks roster when he declares. I think most of this is just "homer" hype.
I am sure the guy has potential, but to say we should gamble our future ona guy who has "potential" or just cause he is from the area he should be a Hawk?
I dont think I would draft him. I live in the Midwest and I saw him play 3 games this year and he was "ok". I wasnt watching him thinking he could be a great NFL QB.
Everyone complains about East Coast bias, but the same thing happens on the West Coast.
I would rather take a flier on a late round QB to develop than risk a top pick on a kid who may not even be ready for the pros or may sit for years to come.
You need to use your top pick to get a player who can play now and help the team. Not someone who is a potential guy, or could be really good, or something like that.
Locker has proved nothing to me to be a top pick in the draft.

texashawk said...

I do not personnaly watch alot of college ball. I did however watch highlights of Locker and Bradford.

Of the two I think I would rather have Locker. His speed is something special and he seems to use it as a secondary weapon not as a primary attack like Vick would. Is this an accurate assesment?

I was not very impressed with bradfords scanning ability. He seemed to look down his receiver in what almost seems to me like gimmick plays. However I only watched the highlights so please correct me if this is a bad assessment. I would like to hear your thought Rob on how you compare the 2 QB's.

I also think that Locker would be a good fit because whoever we draft will sit for a few years anyway. He could develop behind Hasslebeck for a couple years before starting.

Tim Malone said...

I'm not a UW grad but I really like Locker, reminds me of McNabb. Big, mobile, but a little scattershot. He wont be able to play next year so a spot like the Seahawks would be great, but if a team drafts him and throws him out there his rookie year, I see him being a bust.

Rob Staton said...

Hey Texashawk - thanks for dropping by. I can't compare Locker and Bradford because I've not see enough of JL to form a comparison. However, I've seen Bradford and I think obviously he's not as mobile as Locker and doesn't have the physical set up. Locker has a better arm and mechanics. He also has an ability to make plays with his feet and scramble around to keep a play alive that Bradford hasn't.

However, Bradford is a more accurate passer and has greater production, albeit in a QB friendly scheme. I actually think Bradford has got real potential but will need a year or two to adapt to a more pro-style offense and all that comes with it. Locker is more acustomed to that style having played in a WCO.

But as I say - to really get a grasp for a comparison I'd have to watch Locker in full game tape footage at least 3-4 times.

Anonymous said...

If Locker falls to us, I can't fault the team for taking him. Echoing others comments, I'm not sold on Tebows arm, or Bradfords resilience, or Clausens leadership or McCoys anything. Locker is the only one I wouldn't cringe at with our first pick. I'd also rather stay clear of QB in rounds 1-3 and stock up on D-line and O-line talent. Another late round developmental guy to compete with Teel would be my preference. Whomever succeeds Hasselbeck will benefit from those picks, and I think Hass has 2-3 years left in his tank, provided he doesn't get battered too often.

Anonymous said...

If we are willing to give him time, yes, I would take him. To expect him to come in and play right away would be a mistake.

I also like Bradford because of his accuracy. If the questions about his shoulder can be anwsered, I would be OK with Locker or Bradford in round 1.

The QB position is too important to leave exclusively up to late round projects. Sure, some have success, but a vast majority never become starters. Look around the league, most of the best QBs get drafted within the first 2 rounds. The biggest exceptions being Brady and Hasselbeck.

P. Manning - 1st
D. Brees - 2nd
T. Brady - 6th
M. Hasselbeck - 6th
B. Roethlisberger - 1st
P. Rivers - 1st
D. McNabb - 1st
A. Rogers - 1st
B. Favre - 2nd
E. Manning - 1st
C. Henne - 2nd
M. Ryan - 1st
J. Flacco - 1st

Those are the ones who immediately come to mind. I know that if I did more research, I would find starters who were drafted later (or not at all), such as Orton, Romo, and some others. I would also find 1st round busts such as J. Russell. Overall though, I think my theory is pretty accurate.

TJ

Misfit said...

I don't care whether Locker 'stays in Seattle' or not. I want the best player. As much as I love my Huskies and like to follow players around the NFL that hail from UW, what matters most is getting the best players - no matter where from. (Now that Ruskell is gone, we might even draft from a small-school at some point at whichever position).

I personally think Locker should stay in school. I know that is a cliche', but he really needs to work on some things. His ability as a runner will be devalued at the pro level. His passing must improve. He would be silly to declare. Another year in Sark's offense could very well catapult him into the conversation for #1 overall pick in 2011.

At this moment, I covet Bradford as the future Seattle QB the most. His accuracy is fantastic, which is the #1 indicator his game will translate well to the pro level (see: Lewin Forecast). The pre-draft stuff will go a long way to shape my perceptions of the other candidates. Right now, Bradford please.

Locker is more of a project QB if he comes out this year. His upside is tremendous, but he'll need a lot of time as an understudy (see: Aaron Rodger). Matt won't be around long enough for that. We need a player closer to playing than Locker would be. I think Locker is fantastic, but I really hope he stays in school another year.

Anonymous said...

I would love to have Locker, no question. He can learn under the system for that first couple of years, also get some game experience knowing how injury-prone Hasselbeck is.

-Mikey

kearly said...

I really want Locker to return to UW, both for his own sake and the school itself. As far as what little insight I can offer, here are some things Jake Locker said about his decision to declare:

-As of the Cal game, he said he hadn't even thought about it yet, but planned to sit down with his family and coaches to work out a plan and do things the right way in making his decision. The deadline is still over a month away. I think Jake will take much of that time to make his decision, since millions of dollars are at stake.

-Locker was a top high school QB prospect, and turned down scholarship offers from some top schools so that he could play for his beloved Huskies, even though they were a terrible football team. His decision to choose UW, and stick with them, shows an incredible degree of loyalty. If he simply wanted to advance his NFL prospects, UW would have been the last place he would have chosen. If Locker decided to return for his senior year, it would fit into his already established pattern of behavior of sacrificing for the good of his favorite team.

-As Hugh Millen pointed out in his recent and excellent Seattletimes write-up, the numbers lean towards staying at UW. Junior QBs taken in the top 15 picks have a 27% success rate. Senior QBs taken in the top 15 picks have a 62% success rate. Of the 252 senior QB's drafted in the last 20 years, only 13 suffered injuries as seniors, and in all 13 cases, draft impact was minimal. If Jake Locker returns, he'd be dramatically increasing his odds for NFL success, and should he stay healthy, he'd be the early favorite to go #1 overall in 2011.

However, its very hard to turn down a chance to go top 5 in the draft. And I'm sure his parents, like most athlete parents, are very concerned with financial stability for their kids, and will probably tell him to take the money while he can. Still, Locker's loyalty to school is strong, and there are good NFL reasons for not declaring. Even the same NFL pundits that put Locker top 5 are unanimously saying he should return to school, but they said that about Sanchez too. Gut feeling, I'd say its 60/40 he returns to UW.

kearly said...

If Jake Locker does declare, I'm not sure how I'd feel about Seattle drafting him. A very good comparison for Jake Locker is Jake Plummer.

And guess who drafted Plummer? The Cardinals (he even played in the same stadium). You would think that being a local kid would mean fans would give him a long leash, but ironically, the opposite is frequently true. Plummer in Arizona, Frye in Cleveland, Quinn in Cleveland, Huard in Seattle, Stevens in Seattle, when those players struggled, the fanbase came down on them HARD, because those fans started off with rosy fantasies that could not be met. Not every local boy can be Lebron James, unfortunately. I want Locker to be a HoF QB that represents the UW with pride, but I think he gets the best chance to do that somewhere else.

That, plus I just don't know if Locker is a good fit for the Seahawks. His deep accuracy would be wasted in a WCO, and his short accuracy is one of his bigger weaknesses. If we totally blow this team up and go with a tradition vertical offense, Locker makes sense. Until then, I'd feel really nervous. That, and Locker might need 3 years to get up to NFL speed. I'm not sure the fanbase has the patience for that, especially since they'll be foaming at the mouth to see Locker in action. As cool as it would be, my instincts tell me its a bad idea. Please return to UW, Jake.

nightwulf said...

I think the sky's the limit on Locker, so long as whoever drafts him has patience. I saw him in HS, and seen his improvement through college. Another year under Sark would do wonders for him. (of course, if he stays, the Hawks will have NO chance at him)
Holmy's on record saying that he thinks Matt has a "good 4 years in the tank". Depending on what we do with the O line, I'm inclined to agree. If we get Locker this year, he can hold a clipboard for the next two years, and perhaps at least start in his 3rd (with Hass ready to take over should it prove too much of a "learning experience" just as Dilfer did for him) I suspect that he'll need that kind of a safety net the first year he starts. He's shown he can learn, he has amazing talent, and the amount of time he can spend as an "apprentice" will have a great effect on how far he goes in this league. I'm kinda torn here. If he goes this year, he's more likely to be picked as a "project" QB, but if he stays one more year under Sark, he'll be a MUCH better QB, on the other hand, he'll be drafted by a REALLY bad team who needs a QB now. This could be disastrous for his career.
I hope for the best for him, and would really rather see him in a Hawks uni than any of the other QB's available this year.

Kyle Rota said...

The Locker debate is not really one about what he is. At least, not once the UW fans are excluded from the process. Everyone else is seeing the same things on film.

NFL scouts are going to get much the same read that McGuire got - supremely, once-every-10-years talented. Good size, great running ability, big arm, quick release, mediocre (by NFL standards) accuracy, questionable decision making, fairly low shot-putty release (but mitigated due to size). Definitely have some injury concerns as well, because he runs with a reckless style that will get him hurt in the NFL. Intangibles sound good, but then that won't really be decided until much closer to the draft.

If you know what to look for, what Locker is should be apparent. The real question is, how much risk do you feel like taking for the ultimate reward? Scouts are going to tell their GM, "He's not NFL caliber right now, but if things break right he'll be a top QB in this league."

Locker is too risky for my blood, even if he becomes a great player, I still don't think you risk a high first on it. Those picks are expensive and (hopefully) rare.

If this were the 2007 or 2008 draft, I'd be a lot more willing to consider it and would probably be all over it. Our first round pick (well, we didn't have a 2007 one, but I'd have spent it on Locker if we did have it) was nowhere near as big and Seattle had the time to bring Locker along very slowly. In the 2010 draft, we're looking at an expensive pick (lots of pressure to perform immediately), a bad team, and a QB situation where the starter is clearly in physical decline and a major injury risk. It'd be downright amazing if Seattle was able to wait until 2012 to start Locker, which is probably how long he'll need to succeed (almost no teams are that patient). Our QB situation is simply way too volatile to draft a guy who needs stability to reach his potential.