Jake Locker, 2011 NFL Draft

Jake-Locker

Quarterback

Washington

Senior

6’ 3”, 223 lbs

Strengths: Speed, Arm Strength, Delivery, Accuracy, Athletic, Footwork

Weaknesses: Indecision, Inconsistency, Forcing Throws, Field Vision

By Bryan Dietzler

Jake Locker may have ended up being the top pick in the 2010 NFL Draft had he decided to forgo his senior season.  Instead, he will go back to school where he will continue to get better and quite possibly cement himself as the number one pick in the draft for 2010.

There are many things that Locker does well.  Some of his strongest abilities include possessing great arm strength to go deep down the field as well as possessing good accuracy.  He is able to hit those deep targets effectively and can spin the ball into tight places closer to the line of scrimmage.  On his accuracy, Locker is able to connect with receivers on any part of the field and seldom misses a receiver.

In terms of his athleticism Locker is a good athlete for his position and may be one of the more athletic quarterbacks to come into draft in 2011 (or come into any draft in a while).  He has solid speed for the position and is very agile.  With this he is a threat to run the ball on a regular basis and can keep plays alive with his legs by running or throwing on the run.  Being able to run also allows Locker to avoid defenders and get the ball off before the gets sacked.

Mechanically, Locker may have to work on a few things but he has the basics going quite well.  When it comes to footwork, Locker has some of the better footwork of those quarterbacks eligible for the draft in 2011 and with more work (in the NFL) he should only get better.  He gets his whole body (especially his hips) into the throw proving a lot of power for his throws.  Locker also has good timing on this throws and hits the receiver when and where he needs to get the pass to him. 

Locker is a student of the game and has learned the ins and outs of it from a great teacher (his head coach).  He is smart on the field and has shown a lot of improvement learning the new offense and working with a group of wide receivers that he has had to work with.  He’s been able to make a lot of something out of nothing for the most part.  This will be an important part of what NFL scouts evaluate when they take a look at Locker this season.

Some of the other things that Locker does well include good decision making remembering that he should always look to pass before he runs.  Locker is also able to work fakes well and is very good at getting defenses to bit on play fakes. 

As there is with every player in any draft there are some problems with Locker’s game.  When looking at his mechanics, although solid for the most part, he still has problems getting the ball thrown well enough and sometimes doesn’t put a good spin on the ball.  There are also times when he forces the ball leading to incompletions or interceptions.

Indecision has become a big part of Locker’s game and hopes are that this year he will be able to overcome some of those problems this season.  Locker has been known to be hesitant when he looks down the field (hesitant to throw the ball and take a risk from time to time) and he will also decide to pull down the pass and take off running before checking out all of his options down the field.

Some scouts feel that Locker doesn’t see the field very well and will misfire when throwing to the open receiver.  It’s also evident that Locker will fixate on one receiver allowing the defense to notice and defend the pass successfully.  There are also times when Locker doesn’t know what to do with the ball (usually when he’s being rushed). 

There are some issues with his mechanics and he will need to work on this at the pro level.  Locker tends to carry the ball low when he makes his drops and scouts like to see quarterbacks carry the ball high when they drop back.  Locker will need to work on this when he lands in the NFL. 

Some of the achievements that Locker has had since coming to Washington include the following:

2009: Given the Guy Flaherty Most Inspirational Award, selected as a Davey O’Brien Quarterback Award Semifinalist, named an All-American Honorable Mention by Pro Football weekly, All-PAC 10 Honorable Mention by coaches, PAC-10 Offensive Player of the Week (following the California game), Davey O’Brien Quarterback of the Week (following the USC game).

2008: Offensive Player of the Week (following Oregon and BYU games).

2007: PAC-10 Freshman of the Year, second team Freshman All American (Rivals.com), first team redshirt freshman All-American by collegesportsreport.com, 850KJR Sports Radio Player of the Year on Offense, Most Outstanding Freshman Award by Travis Spring, All-PAC 1 honorable mention, and Academic All-PAC-10 honorable mention.

2006: University of Washington Player of the Week after Fresno State, Arizona and Washington State Games.

High School: Locker attended Ferndale High School in Washington.  While he was there he earned first team All-American honors from both EA Sports and Parade Magazine, named overall player and 3A state player of the year and All-State honors by the Associated Press and the Seattle Times, named a Seattle Times Blue Chip recruit, ranked the 5th quarterback in the nation and number one in the west by PrepStar, named the 85th best recruit by Scout.com (in their Top 100, named 68th overall and fourth (quarterbacks) in the dual threat category and selected first team All-State by the Associated Press

Final Word: As long as Locker keeps on playing solid this season more and more NFL scouts are going to take notice of him.  So far in 2010, Locker has been playing very well and is even considered to be part of the Heisman race this season.  If he keeps on the same pace he could also improve his draft stock greatly and may end up being the first player selected in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Projection: 1st Round