Jake Locker may have been a top five NFL Draft selection if he had come out last year, but he came back for his senior season and things did not go the way he or many other people may have expected them to. However, he is still a quality prospect despite his up and down season,
Positives: Locker has good size, very impressive mobility and athleticism, good arm strength and he has a good arm to put the ball where he needs to, has shown the ability to use touch appropriately when necessary. He has good zip on his throws, he has a clean throwing motion and is extremely effective when he can get outside the pocket. He throws well on the run and his mobility is very valuable as a runner and as a tool to extend plays to avoid pressure. He has shown some ability to feel pressure in the pocket and step up and buy time inside the pocket. He makes relatively good decisions with the ball and has shown the maturity to just throw the ball away if there is nothing there. Locker does appear to be effective and reliable late in games, he usually puts his team in a position to win late in games. He’s also a tough player and he will play hurt and finish runs by lowering his shoulder.
Negatives: For all of his progression as a passer Locker still has a ways to go. His accuracy is inconsistent at times and he will miss high, miss low or not put the ball where he needs to on the throw. Some of that has to do with his footwork which is still developing, sometimes he will throw flat footed or off of his back foot which will hurt his accuracy. His pocket presence has improved over his time in Washington, but it could still get better in my estimation. Additionally, I am not overly impressed with Locker as a pocket passer. He is vastly more effective when he can get outside of the pocket, but when he’s inside the pocket he doesn’t seem to be as effective. His decision making has improved over his time at Washington, but he will still throw passes into double coverage and make poor decisions. At times I can explain them if his team is losing and he is just trying to make a play late in a game, but other times they will simply be poor throws he shouldn’t have made.
Overall: I like Locker as a prospect, and if his intangibles are as good as many people lead us to believe then it will be hard to doubt him as a prospect. If he gets drafted to a team with a quality QB coach who can help him develop further I think he will end up being a quality NFL QB. He has good arm strength, he has the ability to throw accurate passes but I am not sure he will ever be much more than a 58% completion guy in the NFL. That is solid, but nothing spectacular. His footwork needs improvement and that will help his accuracy and ball placement a bit, but at times his accuracy is just a little erratic which I am not sure will ever change. However, if he can continue to improve as a pocket passer over the next year or two that I think he will need to further develop then I think he could be an effective starter. Unlike last year when many were convinced he was a future #1 overall pick I do not think he is a future franchise QB. I think his ceiling would be developing into a true dual-threat QB in the NFL as a guy who can complete 58% of his passes, throw for 2,800+ yards, rush for 600-700+ and get throw 20 TD’s/10 INT’s. That is his potential. The question is, will he ever get there? He needs some work going through his progressions though he has shown the ability to do this as well, he needs to improve his footwork and he needs to continue to improve his pocket presence so he can buy time in the pocket without leaving the pocket. I think with a couple of years of development he could do that, but I don’t think he will ever be a franchise QB.
Projection: Late 1st/Early 2nd: I don’t know if I watched Jake Locker this year without seeing him last year if I would think he was a 1st round draft pick. He had a disappointing season this year, but when you watch him play you see obvious ability and talent, but it isn’t very consistent. Locker’s work ethic and intangibles will be critical in projecting him to the NFL, but if he has the work ethic and drive to improve these things then he could be an effective dual-threat QB in the NFL. However, his underwhelming Senior season combined with his potential learning/developmental curve when it comes to adjusting to the NFL may drop him out of the top 15 selections on draft day.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
ARM STRENGTH: 3.5
DECISION MAKING: 3.0
POCKET AWARENESS: 3.0
Hopefully you enjoyed my thoughts on Jake Locker, please let me know what you think of my analysis!
Thanks for reading!