Generates a lot of torque from his lower half and has the ability to fit the football into tight spots even when he’s off balance. Did a much better job this past season identifying coverages before the snap and working his progressions more efficiently. However, needs to do a better job moving his feet once he comes off a read and striding into throws. Has a tendency to get sloppy with his footwork and not align himself up with the target, which causes his accuracy — especially over the middle of the field — to suffer. Will struggle at times anticipating throws in the pass game, holding onto the football too long waiting for receivers to uncover.
Is a gifted athlete who looks comfortable on the move, can buy time for himself and create outside the pocket, but at times needs to learn to just throw the football away. Has a tendency to try to do too much and will get himself into some trouble with some negative plays. His accuracy seems to run hot and cold. When he sets his feet and keeps a solid base under him, the guy can consistently make all the throws. But too often, he gets caught throwing across his body, overextending in the pocket and/or falling off of throws. Nevertheless, he’s a tough, gritty quarterback who his teammates really seem to rally around and has proven he can bounce back after facing a ton of adversity during his first two years on campus.
Impression: The athletic ability, the arm strength and the intangibles are all there, and the upside his game possesses is tremendous. However, I still would like to see him become a more polished product before feeling comfortable taking him with a top-ten pick."
Arm Strength: Possesses ideal arm strength. Drives the ball on short and intermediate routes. In fact, may need to learn to more consistently throw with touch for shorter routes, as he too often zips passes through his targets' hands. Can stretch the defense deep and throw 60-plus yards with a tight trajectory. Experienced playing in poor weather and has the arm strength to slice through strong winds. Reportedly has been clocked at 95 mph by baseball scouts.
Setup/Release: Well versed taking the snap from under center and out of the shotgun. Good foot speed, balance and agility for the quarterback position, but is still developing the nuances of setting his feet before releasing the pass. Has an efficient, over-the-top delivery and delivers the ball with velocity.
Reading Defenses:May have regressed as a senior in this area after improving significantly from his sophomore season (under Tyrone Willingham) to his junior season (first under Sarkisian). Has a tendency to stare down his primary option. Can be too aggressive and will throw the deep ball into double-coverage.
On the Move: A true dual-threat quarterback. Estimated by scouts to have 4.5 speed, but plays faster due to his vision, and his long strides in the open field are deceptive. Has some wiggle to make defenders miss and seems to enjoy the physical aspect of the game. Had to be reined back by Sarkisian (and previously, Willingham) for his willingness to drop his shoulder and take on the defender for additional yardage. Dangerous thrower on the move, demonstrating good velocity and improving accuracy when rolling to his right or left. Has a tendency to forget his mechanics when throwing on the move, however, leading to some of his passes drifting high or wide of his intended target.
Intangibles: In addition to his durability and consistency concerns, scouts also have to worry if Locker will remain in football. He's a dual sport athlete who has twice been drafted by MLB's Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Signed a six-year deal with the Angels in 2009, though part of the agreement is that Locker will pursue a career in football over baseball. Technically considered a walk-on at UW as the Angels are paying for his scholarship costs. Highly respected by the coaching staff, teammates and fans. Gutty, determined. Named a team captain in 2009 and 2010. Honored with the Guy Flaherty Most Inspirational Award, the UW's oldest and most prestigious team honor, following the 2009 season. "
Arm strength: One of Locker's more intriguing traits is his arm strength. His arm will be one of the strongest in the 2011 draft and compares favorably to the strongest in the NFL. While arm strength isn't necessarily the most important trait in a quarterback, it's certainly something nice to have in the arsenal.
Athleticism/mobility: Possesses as much athleticism and mobility as someone could want in a starting quarterback. A high school baseball star, Locker clearly has athletic chops. His feet are quick and he's agile enough to elude defenders. Reportedly runs a 4.4 40-yard dash, which is probably an exaggeration.
Decision making: In the past, Locker's athleticism has been a detriment to his decision making. He would too quickly pull the ball down and run instead of reading his progressions. He still tends to carry that issue and gets too antsy in the pocket. This forces the line to hold their blocks longer, which leads to more pressure.
Field vision: This is the other area where Locker needs to show improvement as a senior. He is generally a one-read and throw quarterback. Against teams that can disguise coverage, Locker has issues. He needs to do a better job of working through his reads. Early in his career, Locker often had to go to his No. 1 option because the skill positions at Washington were lacking. That's the case no more, so if Locker's field vision doesn't improve this year, his ranking will suffer.
Mechanics: Locker's mechanics make him just as good or better than any draft-eligible quarterback in college, especially his release. Locker tends to hold the ball low on his chest as he drops back. You'd like to see him hold it a little higher, but Locker's next move is lightning quick. He cranks the ball back in an instant and fires it right over his ear. He doesn't windup at any point and doesn't waste a motion. As is the case with most college quarterback, Locker has spent most of his time in the shotgun. As he plays under center more, he'll get more comfortable reading defenses as he drops back.
Pocket awareness/poise: As mentioned in the decision making category, Locker has a tendency to move around a lot in the pocket. Needs to show as a senior that he can set his feet, plant and throw. When he shuffles his feet, Locker's accuracy drops considerably. Appears to feel the blitz fine. Has the strength throughout his frame to handle hits.
Final word: Quarterbacks as athletic and strong-armed as Locker don't come around often. In his first year in head coach Steve Sarkisian's pro-style offense, Locker improved as a pocket passer. Add his incredible ability and speed and you have a front-line football player. He showed better pocket presence in 2009 but still needs to improve in that area. He can be very good in the play action game and can throw effortlessly on the move.
Locker seems to finally be realizing his upside after being slowed by injuries as a sophomore. It's scary, but we likely haven't seen the best of Locker yet. If he can improve some on his touch, Locker has the look of a No. 1 overall pick.
Locker was a two-sport star in high school and was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in the 10th round of the MLB Draft. . Locker has had several injuries, including a broken thumb, a neck issue, a hamstring that slowed him as a sophomore and currently has an injured hand.
When you look at Locker as a whole, he smacks of a boom or bust prospect. His deficiencies – accuracy, field vision and pocket presence – are the same as quarterbacks who often bust. But it's impossible to ignore his athleticism, arm strength, toughness and potential to improve more under Sarkisian."
Locker could go in the top 10.
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.
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.
NFL Player Comparison: Steve Young"
Positive: Athletic passer that's had an up-and-down career in college. Patient in the pocket, stands strong against the rush and remains poised. Nimble, quick-footed and easily gets outside the tackle box to make the throw on the move. Loses nothing throwing on the run and will pull the ball down then run with it rather than toss passes into coverage. Accurate throwing on the move. Sells ball fakes, buys time for receivers, and effective running with the ball. Possesses a big arm, zips the short-to-intermediate routes and can drive the deep ball. Gets passes through tight spots and puts velocity on his throws. Flashes the ability to nicely place throws where only his receivers can make the reception. Plays with toughness.
Negative: Has a high release point, does not consistently throw the ball with proper footwork and erratic at times. Will stare down the primary target. Occasionally makes dangerous passes throwing across his body. Has a history of durability issues.
Analysis: Locker was a highly rated prospect after his junior season but decided to bypass the NFL for one more year on the college field. He enters the 2011 draft with a slightly lower grade and is still considered more of an athlete than quarterback by most. After struggling at the Senior Bowl, Locker started to put the pieces together during his combine workout and looks like he's headed in the right direction. Locker will still need a lot of work before he's ready to step under center on every-down basis but his athleticism and ability to throw on the move will help Locker get on the field during red zone situations early in his career."
Negatives: Tends to throw short passes as hard as he can which leads to the ball sailing on him... Hasn't put up great passing statistics, completion percentage is surprisingly low for a player of his ability... Has a tendency to force throws which has led to a number of interceptions... Has a problem reading blitz packages and coverage at the line of scrimmage... Has not won much at a position where winning is tied to the quarterback, a career record of 16-25 when starting for the Huskies... Not a consistent performer... Had some atrocious performances as a senior (See: Nebraska, Stanford, UCLA)... Very disappointing year, will have to be flawless in postseason workouts and interviews to climb back into the top ten range."
Weaknesses: A raw passer who is more of an athlete than a quarterback at this time. Locker played in a Wing T offense in high school and a Spread offense his first three seasons at UW. His production never matched his talent. Needs to set his feet as a passer more consistently. Inconsistent with his accuracy because of this. Still working on becoming quicker with reading defenses. Needs to be a quicker decision maker as a passer. Stares down his receivers at times. Has struggled against better competition. Locker has had multiple injuries, forcing him to miss parts of every season but 2009. Missed part of 2007 with a concusion. Missed most of 2008 with a broken finger. Played most of 2010 with a broken rib, including missing one game."
Locker is a good athlete who can make pass rushers miss due to his quick feet and decent pocket presence. He can make the short and intermediate passes with ease, but does not have great arm strength. Locker certainly has benefited from returning to school and spending more time in a traditional offense.
He could have gone pro early and been drafted in the first round last year, so NFL teams should know that his extra year in college can only be a good thing. Locker may have to battle it out with Andrew Luck for the top quarterback spot in the draft…if Luck goes pro early. Where Locker will surpass Luck is during the workouts, but that may not be enough to be the top quarterback in this class, but Locker will likely be a top ten selection."
Pros: With Locker’s combination of arm strength and athletic ability, many believed he would have challenged Sam Bradford as the number one overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft had the Husky declared. The Washington native has the type of zip on his passes necessary to fit the ball in tight spots, as well as make all the throws required in the NFL. Locker also has the ability to create a throwing window in any situation, easily manipulating his release point to ensure the ball will not be batted down. When he gets the time to set his feet within the pocket and play with proper footwork the Pac-10 product has little trouble hitting receivers in stride with compact, perfect spirals. His running ability makes Locker the top dual-threat signal caller in the nation—he has already set the school record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 1,554, including a Pac-10 record 987 in his freshman season. His size allows him to be more physical than your typical scrambler, with the burst to break off a long run as well. Locker is also blessed with great instincts and tends to perform best when the lights are brightest. Whether against top-notch competition or in situations requiring steely play, Locker comes through and seems to enjoy the moment. His natural ability allows him to make difficult plays look easy and single-handedly keep his team in games or drive them down the field in clutch situations. Locker has a passion for the game and has displayed top-notch leadership skills as well.
Cons: As Locker enters his senior season he will have to answer questions regarding his durability; the injuries he sustained during his freshman (neck injury) and sophomore seasons (broken thumb) cannot be overlooked. Nevertheless, proving he is durable isn’t why Locker returned to Washington. The signal caller passed up NFL riches (for a year) to become more accurate and consistent as a quarterback. If that doesn’t happen, questions will begin to arise as to whether he will truly convert from a raw talent into a polished passer. While Locker has the rare ability to make the impossible look easy, he also has a maddening tendency to make the easy look impossible; too often he misses open targets with no pressure around him. If Locker is to solidify himself as a potential number one pick in 2011, he has to start making the easy plays. Locker also has to become more advanced at going through his progressions before deciding to bolt out of the pocket or tuck the ball and scramble. He needs to stop feeling phantom pressure and bailing out of the pocket; not every play is designed to be a bootleg. It’s not a major issue, but it should be noted that Locker was drafted by the Anaheim Angels in the 10th Round of the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft and signed to a six-year, $250,000 contract. We don’t question Locker’s commitment but NFL teams will take a closer look.
Our View: Since his red-shirt freshman season when he become the 19th player in NCAA history to throw for more than 300 yards and run for over 100 yards in the same game, Locker has flashed elite potential. Entering his senior season at Washington, Locker is considered by most as the favorite to be the number one overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Contrary to popular belief Locker made the right decision to go back to Washington for another year of tutelage under Washington Head Coach Steve Sarkisian. It was a decision that comes with risk, but Locker will be better for it long-term. Prior to his junior season Locker was either hurt and off the field or a tease on it. Now that he has begun to put it together on the field in a pro-style offense, Locker’s inherent talent has NFL evaluators all atwitter. However, he was not ready for the big stage after just one good year; he still has consistency and accuracy issues that would be better adjusted with experience on the field as a senior than as an NFL rookie on the bench. Locker has the skills to become a dominant NFL quarterback, but his preseason draft status is contingent upon his remaining healthy and making strides as a passer—he still needs to improve on his throwing mechanics and reading defenses more intuitively. It would be nice to see Locker complete over 60 percent of his passes during his senior season. The career 53 percent passer hasn’t yet reached that mark over the course of a college season. If Locker can do that and remain healthy he should be in the running to be the top pick and a lock for the top five."
I see more of a resemblance to Donovan McNabb — a highly driven competitor who still will need some time to settle as a pocket passer but who always can create with his feet, is dangerous in the red zone and would excel in an offense featuring heavy play-action and rollouts where he could operate heavily on the move and outside the pocket. Locker wills his way to victory, as he has done against USC on the final drive the past two seasons. He has gotten better every year and is loaded with upside. He will be a very early pick."
When I look at how these Scouts and Analysts regard a QuarterBack, I don't give a rat's ass about how far he can throw it on a wire, or how fast he runs the 40: Anyone who thinks that those Skills are the most critical ones in assessing a QuarterBack's ability to lead a team to a Championship have overlooked the last 90 years of History.
When I look at how these Scouts and Analysts regard a QuarterBack, 90% of my evaluation derives from comments on his Processing Speed, his Decision Making, his Field Vision, his Pocket Presence, and his Mechanics.
Jake Locker commands exceptional physical skills ~ the quintessential Holy Grail of a Great Arm and Blazing Speed ~ but from my perspective, I'm seeing Red Flags all over the place: awful Processing Speed, sketchy Decision Making, dubious Field Vision, and extremely shaky Pocket Presence.
Sorry to say, but I believe that Jake Locker is going to prove to be one of this year's biggests BUSTS.
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