Thursday, 14 January 2010

Are you ready for the rumor of the century?

The deadline for underclassmen to declare is tomorrow. By the end of Friday, we'll know which prospects will be available for the 2010 draft. One of the more high profile decisions to stay in school came locally, with Jake Locker stating he would return to Washington for his senior year. However, Scout.com's Chris Steuber speculates a u-turn might be on the cards and when you hear the reason, you'll be pretty stunned:

"It was just a month ago when Locker announced his decision to stay in school for his senior year, and just last week he spoke at length about his decision to remain at Washington. But something doesn’t seem right. It’s nothing that Locker said last week that makes me believe he may be wavering on his decision, because he was truthful and honest in his explanation to return to school. But after reading his transcript from last week and making a few calls, I’ve learned from two sources that Locker may not be 100-percent certain about his decision.

"Two weeks ago, I made some calls to a few of my sources and asked around about Locker and his decision to stay in school. Locker had made his announcement prior to Christmas and usually the holiday season is when you’re around family and have some downtime to think. So, since there was no follow up reported on his decision, I decided to ask around. The word I received two weeks ago was that he’s 100-percent satisfied with his decision and that he will return to Washington for his senior year. And last week, he finally spoke to the media at length and came across 100-percent sure of his decision.

"However, on Tuesday, I received a call from one of my sources and he said, "Don’t be surprised if Locker pulls a 180 and decides to enter the draft." When he uttered those words, the immediate response I had was, "Because of Pete Carroll?" You got it.

"The arrival of Carroll in Seattle has a chance to be great, but it all starts with Carroll identifying the Seahawks next franchise quarterback.

"Locker has to be intrigued by the possibility of being drafted by the Seahawks. There are a lot of positives with the Seahawks that favor Locker, besides the fact that he will be able to play in front of his family and friends on a consistent basis. Locker’s head coach at Washington is Steve Sarkisian, who spent four years under Carroll at USC as quarterbacks coach (2001 – 2003; 2005 – 2006) and offensive coordinator (2007 – 2008). Carroll has had great success with quarterbacks at the collegiate level using the offense that Sarkisian ran this past year with Washington; an offense that allowed Locker to generate career highs in completion percentage (58.2), passing yards (2,800) and touchdown passes (21), as well as a career low 11 interceptions.

"As the deadline approaches, I’m reminded of these words Locker said last week, "I want to make a decision that I'm not going to regret 30 years from now. I want to make a decision that I'm going to be able to live with because it's a big decision. If you make the wrong one, it will really wear on you."

"I always encourage student athletes to stay in school, not only to improve their craft in an athletic endeavor, but to receive their diploma from the university they attend. But in Locker’s case, this is a special circumstance where in a year - not 30 years – from now, he will regret not taking advantage of it. Locker said last week that he didn’t care about the money and that money wouldn’t drive him to the NFL. But there’s an opportunity for him to end up in a situation with Carroll and the Seahawks that’s just as comfortable as the situation he’s had with Sarkisian and the Huskies.

"The clock’s ticking Jake, don’t waste this opportunity." - Chris Steuber, Scout.com

Surely this won't happen? Even if Pete Carroll's arrival in Seattle has pricked his ears, there's no guarantee he'd land with the Seahawks. St. Louis own the first overall pick - he could end up in a situation where not only is he not in Seattle, he's trying to revive the sinking fortunes of a division rival. Of course, the plus side of that would be - he's the first overall pick and millions better off.

It's speculation to end all speculation. By Saturday, we'll know if there was any substance to it.

UPDATE: Mike Florio at PFT claims that discussions between the NFLPA and the league are in place to try and enforce a rookie pay scale for this year's draft. Commissioner Roger Goodell previously said no cap would be in place until 2011 at the earliest. Even if these reports are proven false or a pay scale fails to materialise this year, the potential talks only increase the likelihood that something will happen for 2011. If that is the case, one or two prospects might be having last minute jitters over their decision to stay in school.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that's definitely a gigantic risk to take if his ultimate goal is to wind up in Seattle. I guess he could pull an Eli Manning. Not only could the Rams be interested, but the Redskins pick before Seattle as well. Then there could be any number of teams interested in trading up should he rise to the top of the QB field.
Locker is not as polished as Clausen is, but he has way more potential. He was certainly surrouded by a lot less talent. He would very easily be my favorite to replace Hasselbeck.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, when the speculation of Carroll to the hawks came about, I kepth thinking about Locker wanting to come out. PC loves Locker and has the ammo to get him. Then again, Locker could pull an Eli Manning. Who knows? Very juicy though.

Mike Kelly said...

There is no way in hell Locker would make it to Seattle if he declared. As much as I would dream of that hapenning he would be plucked by St. Louis or Washington or another team that would move up to get him. I do not even want to get my hopes up for that. Still...,

Naww!! Never happen.

ChavaC said...

Would he still be eligible for the combine?

hunter said...

i think Carroll would trade up to get lokcer. you dont sit and wait for the player to fall to you, you go to him

Rob Staton said...

I see no reason why he wouldn't be good to go for the combine - only seniors have been invited so far. The underclassmen receive their invites after the deadline passes tomorrow.

It's blatant unsubstantiated speculation like this that make you smile after a day when your Jeep has smoke billowing out of it on your way to work on the busiest road in the city.... and takes hours to get towed.

Rob Staton said...

Update added - Mike Florio is reporting that talks over a rookie pay scale for 2010 are in place. Even if they don't materialise, it increases the chances of a pay cap in 2011. Again - it's all speculation - but prospects who fear they might miss the gravy train this year might be having last minute jitters over staying in school. That doesn't just mean Jake Locker either.

We had one big shock with Mark Sanchez last year, we'll see if anything else happens tomorrow ahead of the deadline.

Lenny James said...

Hey Rob, speaking of rumors. On the website Seahawk Addicts there was a article on the possibility of Brandon Marshall coming to town via trade for Deion Branch and undisclosed draft picks. Is there any truth to this? Whats the liklihood of this happening? I recently saw TJ Housh on sportcenter talking about him speaking with B marshall regarding Coach Bates. One Visit to the practice facilities and Housh in his ear can get it done. If we can add B Marshall in the off season, two first round picks, and the addition of Pete carroll and Staff. Wow, we can turn this team around quicker than I thought. This years draft is very important. Very rarely will you get two picks in the top 15. I hope we dont screw it up!

Anonymous said...

If Locker does not go number 1 I think you could trade up to number 3. I guess it all comes down to how much ST Louis wants Suh. I would trade this years first #6 and next years first to move up to number 3 if Locker is available.

Anonymous said...

This is pure speculation by Steuber who does not know Locker like we do here in Seattle. It's not happening people...

Jon said...

I would not be surprised if Locker declares; I almost expect it. In my humble opinion, he has little to gain and much to lose by staying in college. Over the holiday break, someone surely must have gone through the litany:

>Rookie pay scale = negative impact on rookie money. There is zero chance it will be beneficial to most 1st rounders. Who knows how it will materialize but Locker could potentially make more money as a top 5 pick this year than as the top pick next year.

>He is guaranteed to be a top 6 pick even without factoring other teams trading up. No one stays in college to improve his draft status from top 6 to top 1. Even if Locker is the #1 prospect at the end of next year, team need could drop him out of #1 (happened to Leinart). Who will pick first next year? Most likely OAK, DET, KC, or TB. These teams have significant money invested in QB. Bottom line, there is little chance his draft stock will improve further.

>Most importantly, he is ready (enough) for the NFL. There is no doubt that another year in a pro-style offense will help Locker. That is not to say he does not have the physique, skills, and intangibles to succeed in the NFL today. His eventual success is not going to be impacted by another year in college.

Declaring now is the best decision. There are too many uncertainties to forego a chance like this.

Misfit said...

Interesting stuff, Rob. Now that we're in the off-season, I'll probably check in here a bit more. I wonder where Locker would be drafted at this raw stage in his development? It's hard to envision a scenario where he'd be assured of a top-5 selection. He is uber-talented, but raw and will need time to sit and work on all things passing-related. He won't be able to run like he has at the NFL level (see: Vince Young). However, if he was sitting there at 7, it would be awfully tempting.

In fact, I'd love it if another top QB or two declared. That would give us that much more of a shot at landing the heir apparent.

Anonymous said...

I disagree that Locker has nothing to gain by staying. another year in Sark's offense would do him very well. He still needs development. Underclassmen struggle historically. Sanchez walked into a perfect situation in NY and still struggled. Locker will get paid, one way or another. Strictly from the position of how can he best set himself up for success in the NFL, staying in school is the obvious choice. As far as money, Florio isn't the only person talking about rookie pay scale for the '10 draft. Locker could forego a year of development, be a less-ready QB, and STILL get the shaft on his rookie deal. That's a lose/lose.

Rob Staton said...

Hi Lenny - I think the link to Marshall has a lot to do with Houshmandazdeh's name drop. Someone's put two and two together on that one. It's likely the Broncos would ask for a first round pick - Roy Williams set the market at a 1st and a 3rd last year with Dallas. Denver will ask for that and I'd be surprised if the Seahawks gave up too much to acquire a talented, yet sometimes disruptive character. Not that they couldn't do with Marshall, he's exactly what the team is missing in terms of playmaking talent. But I'd be surprised.

Misfit - as you say it's difficult to project Locker. He's raw, but has a high ceiling. His athleticism makes him interesting. He reportedly didn't get a first rounf grade from the draft committee. There would be no guarantee he goes top ten or to the Seahawks, which is the main reason I think this story is interesting, but ultimately unfounded.

Steve in Spain said...

This is cool, I was thinking about a potential draft-declaration u-turn by Locker in my head yesterday. It's fun to speculate.

Locker's thinking may be that, if he does declare, while he may not be guaranteed to go to Seattle, he's guaranteed to fall no further than Seattle. That would change the decision calculus. That would obviate the no-first-round grade from the draft advisory committee.

Nothing would surprise me; Carroll could have had some intermediary whisper in Locker's ear that he definitely will take him at #6 if he declares. Or maybe Carroll planted the story with Chris Steuber in order to communicate that message to Locker in the open.

I'd kinda be surprised if Locker didn't end up declaring. I just see too many teams needing starting-calibre QBs and not enough legit prospects to go around.

Anonymous said...

PFT had reported a "source" telling them Locker's decision to return to Washington was due to the advisory committee telling him he didn't have a 1st round grade, that the buzz was created by the internet and Todd McShay was misguided. If that's true, then this doesn't make a ton of sense, unless there has been some *nudge nudge wink wink* going with Carroll.

ChavaC said...

"unless there has been some *nudge nudge wink wink* going with Carroll."

So much for Carroll's recruiting not having any place in the NFL (=

Anonymous said...

From Texashawk,

Rob,

What are the chances in your opinion that locker would then drop to #6 for the Hawks to grab him? If he would not drop that far what would it cost Seattle to move up into a position to grab him and would PC do it? Locker sounds very exciting but in your opinion is he worth both of our 1st if we had to move up? How enamoured would the rest of the NFL be on him especially #'s 1-5?

I think that him declaring could be our best bet at ever landing him because there is no Guarantee that we will find ourselves this low next year. I am not saying that we will be super competitive but i do beleive that PC will at least put together an 8-8 team next year which would move us to the middle of the draft. I would really appreciate your thoughts on this!

Anonymous said...

So its 755pm PST and no news... Good bye Jake Locker.

Rob Staton said...

From Chris' Twitter account:

"Well, it appears that Jake Locker decided to stay in school. I still believe he should of declared and taken advantage of his status."

Anonymous said...

If only Jake Locker had you around to tell him how to live his life, Chris. He and his family are leading him down the path of ruin. He will never be an NFL quarterback now. What a waste.

Rob Staton said...

In fairness to Chris, he's a top guy who's always willing to talk draft and offer an opinion. His source may have been completely genuine and for all we know, Jake Locker spent yesterday agonising over this decision. It made yesterday interesting nonetheless, even though the rumor proved unfounded.