I’ve been busy today and unable to get through a lot of the tape stashed from last night. I’ll have something on the blog tomorrow. A lot of people have been asking about Cam Newton (QB, Auburn) so I’ll have some thoughts on him. There are some red flags with Newton from his time with Florida that I’ll include here, but more on his game later.
One game I was able to watch part of last night was Washington’s win against Oregon State. Jake Locker passed for three touchdowns in regulation and a couple more in overtime. He went 21/35 for 285 yards and added a further 60 on the ground. He had a single interception and a fumble early on. Was it perfect? No. The critics will point to the way Locker has to get out of the pocket, his sometimes patchy decision making and lack of elite accuracy. What Locker did do was show off yet again his playmaking qualities and his ability to get the job done – which some have questioned.
With Andrew Luck on a bye week, this was a chance for Locker to show he’s still in the race to be the first QB taken next April. He took the chance with both hands. A lot of people think the Buffalo Bills will select first overall next year. They’re 0-5, play in a tough division and struggling badly. They’ll take a QB next year if they are picking first. As things stand today – I think they would take Locker over Luck for sure. Some thoughts as to why:
- Whether it should be a factor or not – their last great hope at QB (albeit as a third round pick) was Trent Edwards. He went to Stanford, like Andrew Luck. I’m sure they’ll analyse Luck separately and not base such a major decision on a factor like this. However, it’s not ridiculous to suggest it may linger in the decision making process, especially if two prospects are ranked closely on their board.
- Locker has a bigger arm and is more physically talented, something that might be crucial in the torrid Buffalo weather.
- Buffalo showed they’ll take playmakers with promise over steady, so-called ‘safer’ picks when they drafted C.J. Spiller.
But perhaps more importantly than anything I just think Locker has proved he’s capable of being the defining factor on his team. Both players are intelligent, hard-working types who are leaders in their respective programmes. I don’t think there’s much between the two in terms of accuracy (both not great) but Locker has the greater arm and is ahead as an overall athlete. It’s not Luck’s fault that he benefits from a strong running game and offensive line. Neither has he shown he can be ‘the star’. He doesn’t hold back Stanford, he helps them along. Locker wins games for Washington.
In a system like San Francisco with a more established run game and offensive line, Luck could have real success as a solid game-manager type. On a team looking for someone to launch a come-back, then I think they’ll go with the bigger playmaker with much greater potential upside. Maybe a bit riskier, but with potentially greater returns. Play to Locker’s strengths, let him develop in one system. Try and iron out the kinks or learn to live with them. I’m not sure Luck walks into Buffalo’s mess. At least Locker will come in and not be unfamiliar to the situation - trying to get the job done on a team without a loaded roster.
Of course the situation changes if Buffalo aren’t the first on the clock next April and there’s a lot of football to be played. However, as things stands today I believe Locker has done enough to get past that Nebraska performance and put himself very much back in the first overall discussion. When I write my next mock draft, there’ll be a change at #1.