Tag:Jake Locker
Posted on: April 8, 2011 1:27 pm
 

Locker "excellent" at SEA, MINN private workouts

Washington quarterback Jake Locker is one of the more polarizing players of the 2011 draft.

As such, he has a busy travel schedule over the next few weeks as teams try to determine if they are willing to use a first round pick on the embattled Husky passer.

If Locker's recent private workouts for the Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks are any indication, his stock could be moving up at precisely the right time.

According to representatives of both teams, Locker has performed very well, building off of the momentum he'd gained from a surprisingly impressive performance at the Combine and even better workout at his March 30 Pro Day.

A source with the Vikings characterized Locker's workout as "very impressive" and claimed that the UW passer "might be in the mix" for the Vikings in the first round. Minnesota owns the No. 12 pick of the draft.

Should Locker get past Minnesota, Miami and Jacksonville -- two other teams some in the league feel may be considering him strongly -- Locker's best bet to get drafted in the first round might be with his "hometown" Seahawks.

Locker worked out for Seattle yesterday and a source from that franchise characterized his workout as "excellent" noting that Locker performed in a high manner in both the whiteboard and actual throwing session of the workout.

The source also characterized Locker as a "great kid who has a huge upside because on the intangibles."

As it stands now, I don't have Locker being available to either the Vikings or Seahawks. In fact, I currently project him to be picked by the Washington Redskins , currently the owners of the No. 10 overall pick.

There is no denying Locker needs time to play in the NFL. However, served as a professional NFL Draft analyst for 12 years, I cannot think of a quarteback with Locker's degree of upside and intangibles that was not among the Top 32 players selected. 


Posted on: March 29, 2011 12:40 pm
 

Seahawks interest in Ryan Mallett legitimate?

The Seattle Seahawks will be flying in Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett to their team headquarters, according to a source.

I typically don't put a great deal of stock into the travels of prospects during this time of year. While it makes for interesting fodder, the reality is, the vast majority of players selected will NOT have been flown in for a visit with their new team prior to the draft.

That the Seahawks are bringing in Mallett, however, is interesting in a couple of different ways.

For one, Seahawks' General Manager John Schneider was at Mallett's Pro Day workout. This is believed to be the only Pro Day workout Schneider has attended so far this year.

Secondly, the Seahawks could be in considerable need of a quarterback. Incumbent starter Matt Hasselbeck is scheduled for free agency. Head coach Pete Carroll said last week at the Owners' Meetings that the Seahawks "made a run" at re-signing Hasselbeck prior to the lockout.

"Financially, we went after it and couldn't get it done," Carroll said. "In my mind, it kind of came right down to the final day of it. We made an effort and they made an effort."

The Seahawks have veteran Charlie Whitehurst waiting in the wings, but in limited duty in his first season with the Seahawks (six games). Whitehurst failed to impress. He did, however, help Seattle beat the St. Louis Rams in the final regular season game of the year, giving the Seahawks the NFC West divisional crown. With Hasselbeck healthy the next week, the Seahawks beat the Saints in the opening round of the playoffs befoe losing on the road at Chicago the next week.

Should the Seahawks be able to re-sign Hasselbeck or feel comfortable enough with Whitehurst as their starter, the team has plenty of quaterback options to consider. The team has previously been linked to several passes including Florida State's Chistian Ponder, TCU's Andy Dalton, Washington's Jake Locker and Nevada's Colin Kaepernick.

With the exception of Ponder, however, most of these quarterbacks are viewed as developmental prospects. Should Seattle be unable to re-sign Hasselbeck, find another veteran option to compete with Whitehurst or feel Whitehurst is not the answer, the Seahawks could feel pressure to draft a quarterback who could contribute immediately.

The only two quarterbacks likely to be available at Seattle's No. 25 pick who are considered "pro-ready" are Mallett and Ponder.

Ponder fits Seattle's West Coast Offense better, but at 6-2, 230 pounds and with a history of injuries, he is a gamble.

Mallett is unquestionably the more gifted prospect. But, of course, concerns about his on and off-field decision-making makes him evey bit the gamble, as well.

Posted on: March 23, 2011 7:48 pm
 

SF coach Jim Harbaugh gushes about Cam Newton

New 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh acknowledged during his interview with the media at the Owners' Meetings that he had to be careful because he didn't want to give too much information away.

And then, he promptly gushed about Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, who conceivably could be on the board for the 49ers with the seventh overall pick.

Asked if there was more value in quarterbacks with mobility, Harbaugh, at first provided the more generic answer we're all used to NFL head coaches providing.

“Yeah, the ability to make people miss as a quarterback is critical. Avoid. Being able to go with your legs. We’ve got some quarterbacks in this draft like Cam Newton and (Blaine) Gabbert in particular, and Jake Locker that not only will make people miss and avoid people, but they can run and keep defenses out of certain coverages, which is quite the trait to have. And they can pick up first downs with their legs, keep the chains moving."

Nothing too flashy there, but then Harbaugh went on.

“And Cam Newton – that’s plutonium-grade raw material, you know? I haven’t seen upside like with this guy in probably the last 10 years.“

If Harbaugh is to be believed, it sounds like Newton isn't likely to slip past the 49ers should he still be on the board.
Posted on: March 5, 2011 12:21 pm
 

Poll of NFL sources finds gulf of opinion on QBs

Since the Combine ended Tuesday, I've been polling league sources on their rankings of the quarterbacks. I spoken or texted with seven sources (ranging from area scouts to front office executives) as of Saturday morning and have some interesting results.

In six of the seven cases, Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert were the top two rated quarterbacks. Four teams had Auburn's Newton as the top passer. Three had Gabbert. All three of the Gabbert fans noted, however, that his March 17 Pro Day would significantly impact their grade on him.

Interestingly enough, the same four teams that rated Newton No. 1 had Arkansas' Ryan Mallett ranked as the third QB -- with one exception. One of these clubs had the rankings had Mallett as the No. 2 passer behind Netwon. This source is obviously less concerned about the so-called character questions of these two SEC stars than other teams.

The wildcard of the QB rankings was Washington's Jake Locker. Three teams had Locker as the 3rd rated quarterback. The other four teams rated Locker 4th (two teams), 6th and 7th, respectively in this year's QB class.

The other QBs jumping ahead of Locker for these clubs were Florida State's Christian Ponder, TCU's Andy Dalton and Nevada's Colin Kaepernick.

Given the choice between "sure," "likely," and "unlikely" five of the seven sources thought it was "likely" that all seven of the quarterbacks made the first three rounds.

To put that in perspective, seven quarterbacks being drafted in the first three rounds has happened only twice in the past 40 years (excluding the USFL.CFL-impacted Supplemental Draft in 1984).

Teams are certainly hoping that this year's group will enjoy more NFL success than the past two classes that sent this many highly-graded quarterbacks to the pros. The 1999 class featured huge busts in Tim Couch, Akili Smith and Cade McNown, among others. Donovan McNabb and, to a lesser extent, Daunte Culpepper were the success stories of the class. With the exception of Jay Cutler (and to a lesser extent Vince Young, Tarvaris Jackson) the 2006 class has yet to establish itself, either.

Posted on: February 28, 2011 7:24 pm
 

Could five QBs wind up in the first round?

We all know the value of quarterbacks raises as the draft gets closer. We also all know that significantly altering a player's grade based on Combine performance is a quick way to get a scouting staff fired.

That said, there is an increasing belief among NFL teams that as many as five quarterbacks could wind up in the first round, following strong performances from Ryan Mallett, Jake Locker and Christian Ponder at the Combine.

Mallett unquestionably has first round skills. While his struggles at the podium in front of the media has been well documented, league sources tell our own Len Pasquarelli of The Sports XChange that teams who interviewed him in Indianapolis "came away impressed with him."

Locker, too, has unquestionable talent. His career-long struggles with inaccuracy remain a concern for many, but there was no denying he enjoyed a strong throwing session at the Combine, throwing some of his most accurate passes on the deep outs, fly routes and post-corners that are generally considered the toughest throws scouts ask quarterbacks to make at the Combine. Some teams will take this as evidence that he's made strides under former pro quarterback Ken O'Brien -- and is likely to continue to do so under NFL coaching.

Perhaps the most surprising quarterback generating recent first round buzz is Ponder. His multiple arm surgeries make his medical grade the most important result from the Combine (and teams won't have these complete results for awhile), but there is no question that the former Seminole is building momentum following a Senior Bowl MVP performance and a strong showing during passing drills. Considering his intelligence, mobility and accuracy to the short to intermediate levels of the field, Ponder is viewed by some as the top true West Coast Offense quarterback in the draft.

In last week's mock draft I had only two quarterbacks (Missouri's Blaine Gabbert and Auburn's Cam Newton) projected in the first round. With virtually every one of the front office executives and head coaches acknowleding during their Combine interviews the supreme value of the quarterback position and another two months for the hype around these three to build, we could end up seeing that number more than double by April 28.

Posted on: February 27, 2011 12:38 pm
 

Mallett, Locker impress in 1st throwing session

As bad as Ryan Mallett's press conference may have been yesterday, his performance in Sunday's throwing session at the Combine should quiet some of his critics.

Mallett effortless passing made him the unquestioned star of the first session, outshining the likes of Jake Locker, Andy Dalton and several others. Cam Newton, Christian Ponder and Ricky Stanzi are some of the big names that make up the second group.

Mallett's rocket arm and good accuracy was especially evident on the tougher throws such as the deep out, fly and post-corner routes. Perhaps just as importantly -- considering the character questions that continue to dog him -- was his big smile and obvious camaraderie with the other quarterbacks and receivers throughout the workout. Of all the players throwing and catching, Mallett looked like he was having the most fun.

Washington's Jake Locker also enjoyed a strong performance. As I've said on numerous occasions in the past, Locker is as frustrating to scout as any quarterback I've ever known. He struggled early on with his accuracy some of the simpler throws -- including the throws over the middle to receivers during the gauntlet drill and the curl routes early in his throwing session.

As the session continued, however, Locker got hot, nailing the deep ball and the post-corner -- generally considered the most difficult throw quarterbacks are asked to make here. These two routes require a combination of arm strength, touch and, of course, accuracy.

Unfortunately, not every quarterback enjoyed a strong performance Sunday. TCU's Andy Dalton's average arm strength led to many of his passes fluttering, affecting his accuracy. Dalton's stock shouldn't slip much from his mediocre performance. He is a quarterback who relies on timing, and, of course, he had none with a group of receivers who he was largely meeting for the first time today.

Fresno State's Ryan Colbun and Texas A&M's Jerrod Johnson struggled mightily. Each were consistently inaccurate on the variety of throws the coaches put them through.

Posted on: February 25, 2011 1:49 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2011 1:50 pm
 

Locker doesn't 'shut the door' on baseball

During his media question and answer session at the Combine, Washington quarterback Jake Locker expressed his passion for the game of football, but sidestepped rather than put an end to any concern that he'll pursue a career in baseball.

Asked if he has "shut the door on baseball," Locker responded with:

"I'm a football player. That's what my focus has been on. I have been honest and up front with [teams] about that. Football is where my heart is. I love the game. I love playing the game. As long as I have an opportunity to play football, I'm going to."

Locker clearly favors playing football, but with a looming NFL lockout potentially disrupting that opportunity, Locker isn't giving up his options.

Locker was drafted by the Los Angeles in the 10th round of the 2009 draft. They gave him a $250,000 signing bonus and hold his MLB rights until 2015. He was a standout pitcher and outfielder for Ferndale High School in the state of Washington.

Locker, playing in the outfield, has occasionally practiced with some of the Angels' minor league teams over the past two years. He played with the Bellingham Bells of the West Coast League two summers ago, hitting .273 with three RBIs and one home run in 10 games.

Posted on: February 23, 2011 11:12 pm
 

Who'll Run Fastest? My position by position take

As I've noted previously, the most important element of the Scouting Combine to NFL teams lies with the medical testing and interviews.

The most entertaining part of the Combine, however, is of course, the athletic drills. The 40-yard dash, in particularly, has taken on a life of its own as the Combine's preeminent drill.

Ask five NFL scouts to predict who will be the fastest player in Indianapolis this year and you might get five different names. Rather than just identify one or five prospects who could turn in blazing times, I thought I'd give you my pick for each position.

Disagree? Perhaps in the greatest example of how big the NFL Combine has become, you can literally put your money where your mouth is and make prop bets through Bodog.com.

I didn't make any bets. If I had, these would have been my picks.

QB: Jake Locker, Washington -- I'm picking a bit of an upset from the start. Cam Newton is considered the favorite by most to the fastest and perhaps he'll prove he is. I expect each of them to run in the 4.5 range.

RB: Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech -- It is too bad that Eastern Washington's Taiwan Jones is still recovering from a broken bone, as I would have loved to have picked the D-II star to shock the world here. The world will have to wait for his Pro Day. If Williams runs the 4.4 or better time I expect, he could make a push for the late first round, just like former Cal star Jahvid Best did last year.

WR: Ricardo Lockett, Fort Valley State -- Despite the fact that he's a D-II prospect, Lockett's explosive speed at 6-3, 212 pounds makes him a well known commodity to many scouts. Lockette has publicly said he hopes to challenge Chris Johnson's 4.24 second time from 2008. Abilene Christian's Edmund Gates, Troy's Jerrel Jernigan, Boise State's Titus Young and Maryland's Torrey Smith can also fly, making wide receiver the year's most competitive group.

TE: Virgil Green, Nevada -- If anyone might have wondered why the Wolfpack lost only one game last year, you can point to the spectacular athleticism of Green, OLB Moch and, of course, QB Colin Kaepernick. Green could wind up in the 4.5s at 6-4 and 250 pounds.

OL: Nate Solder, Colorado -- USC's Tyron Smith is a spectacular athlete, but so too is Solder. There are some who believe he'll produce results similar to the ones that pushed former Central Michigan star Joe Staley into the first round. Staley was credited with a 4.78 second time in the 40 at 6-6, 306 pounds.

DL: Robert Quinn, North Carolina -- With nearly a full year to prepare for these workouts, as well as jaw-dropping athleticism to begin with, Quinn is going to be impressive. Perhaps that's why I listed him as my No. 5 overall prospect in the 2011 draft and have argued for months that he's a more explosive pass rusher than Da'Quan Bowers.

LB: Dontay Moch, Nevada -- Moch stunned scouts last spring when he was clocked in at 4.28 seconds in the 40-yard dash. I'm not so sure he can match that time on Indianapolis' notoriously slow track, but he should lap the field in a relatively weak year for linebackers.

CB: Demarcus Van Dyke, Miami -- LSU's Patrick Peterson told the media that his goal in the 40-yard dash was in the 4.2s. Van Dyke might actually accomplish this rare feat.

S: Rahim Moore, UCLA -- I'm not as high on Moore as many are, but there is no denying his pure athleticism. He could be one of the few safeties in this class that can break the 4.50 mark.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com