Mel Kiper, “It’s etched in stone he’s the #1 pick.” “He’s nothing more than Kyle Boller.”
How is it, that these guys agree that Stanford and Arkansas are “a thousand times” better than UW, yet treat Locker as if he is a poor decision maker, terrible accuracy, can’t win as if he was thrust into the same situation? Locker literally has no pocket to throw from, and no time to make reads. The reason has to roll out to make plays is because that’s the only way he can have enough time for WRs to get open. I mean, I get really frustrated because it’s as if this guys don’t watch a game. Kiper states that Locker was “only 24-40 against USC.” Does he watch? How many drops happened in that game? Not to mention, how about 3rd and 10 with the game on the line and the WR gets hit in the facemask with a pass and can’t make a play, only to have Jake nail a pass on 4th and 10 to keep the drive going and ultimately win the game?
Part of me is so frustrated at the apparent box score scouts, but part of me is happy to think Locker will slip and we have our stud QB for the next 10 years. I guess the problem with scouting is that the eye sees what it wants to see. And it’s so easy to build a case for or against stats. Locker is on a bad team. He’s the ONLY reason that they win. Look at Luck vs. UCLA and Notre Dame and tell me what happens if Jake puts that performance up in those games? UW gets destroyed.
I’ve been saying it for years now, there’s a reason the Huskies didn’t win a game in 2008. Jake Locker is the only reason UW wins. When UW wins, you can take it to the bank that Locker had a “great” performance. Yes, I’m a UW fan. Yes, I’m a big Jake Locker fan. But, I can be rational about Locker and his skills. He’s never going to be a Peyton Manning, but he can definitely be a Ben Roethlisberger (minus the extra-cirriculars), who is able to buy time and WIN games on his own.
Mel speaks to a lot of people ‘in the game’. I just wonder if sometimes he moves people up and down on his board based on those discussions – but never makes it clear that’s why. It’s always based on a bad performance that wasn’t any different than the last six weeks. Locker has fallen eight places on his board and 15 since week one. As McShay points out – that’s fine.. but why does Mallett rise two spots after a similarly average performance last weekend? It makes absolutely no sense.
I actually have time for McShay. I agreed completely with him regarding Jimmy Clausen last year. The amount of abuse he got for calling Clausen a round two pick was incredible. I think he evaluates well generally. I think sometimes with his mocks the picks are more based on his board than need/fit. I remember he had BJ Raji going to Seattle for weeks in 2009 when there was 0% chance Ruskell would draft a guy with his character red flags.
So I think Kiper’s reasons for moving Locker down may be unfathomable, but I do think it could be a true reflection of his stock right now.
Actually, my reaction is *finally*, someone other than me just linked Locker to Kyle Boller. The potential isn’t taking him to the next level yet. Locker undoubtedly has the elite tools and sometimes flashes them in a tantalizing way. He’s better than Boller (who surprised some Cal fans I know by getting drafted in the 1st round), but I’ve soured a little on Locker in the past 3-4 weeks and I’m doubting if I’d draft him in the top 10 right now. I think some team still will based on the supply/demand situation for qb’s, but I’m not fully comfortable if I’m that team.
Main reason is this. I don’t think he is noticeably any better right now than he was a year ago. That’s qualitative, not stat-based. And that takes out the talent comparisons to Arkansas and Stanford. Locker still has the same coaching staff and system, he still has Kearse (both the good and bad with that), he still has Chris Polk.
Plateauing might be ok if you’re a sophomore or a junior, but he’s a 5th year senior who’s considered raw, and he’s running out of games to take that next step. Every game that passes where he doesn’t show some real progress, he’s going to drop a little.
The problem is, we truly don’t know what Jake Locker is capable of. Yes, he still has Chris Polk (amazing) and Jermaine Kearse (nothing special), but that truly doesn’t mean a thing because his O-line is absolutely atrocious. Bad enough, that I’d argue that none of them would start at any other BCS conference team and probably have a tough time cracking the 2 deep on the depth chart (outside of some freshman). That may seem extreme, but it makes the Seahawks line look like the New York Jets. Most importantly, one has to remember that this was a 0-12 team 2 years ago and the only thing that changed (on the field) was the presence of Jake Locker. I’ve said this many times, but UW is so bad, that the only chance of winning is for Locker to have a “great” game. No other big time QB has to deal with that situation. So, this hinders Locker in 2 ways. 1) People point out out to the idea that “he’s not a winner,” and most recently, “he doesn’t have the it factor.” 2) When they do lose, it’s easy to twist an average, possibly even good game into a “losing performance,” or “not good enough to win.” These 2 factors are constantly working against Locker, and it’s hard to shake these descriptions, because it’s kind of damned if you do, damned if you don’t. A great performance to secure a win, is almost a curse for the simple fact that a follow up performance of lesser quality is deemed a “losing effort.” You never hear about poor games from Luck and Mallett because they play on good enough teams to win without them. As a matter of fact, Luck was consistently praised during and after the UCLA and Notre Dame game despite poor performance. Likewise, with Mallett, he moves up Kiper’s big board despite and poor performance in which he was 13-25 for 190 with a TD and INT.
Now, you mention you wouldn’t be comfortable with him (your opinion, completely understandable), but I actually would feel confident for the simple fact that you know how he handles adversity and poor support from his team. You have see him, every game, making throws under pressure, getting hit, and getting back up for the next play without ever pointing a finger.
I’m not trying to change anyone’s opinion on this matter, I’m just trying to get people to have some perspective on these guys. Yes, Locker can be frustrating because he can make a perfect throw in the worst of situations, and simply miss a wide open WR on the next. At some point, we have to acknowledge the fact that horribly inconsistent play from his surrounding team can disrupt his play too. Not to mention, being on a bad team like the UW, can make an offense very one dimensional because they are constantly in “catch up” mode. By no means is Locker perfect, but I think it’s not wise or fair, to condemn and define him based on his situation, which I’d argue, hardly any other QB could deal with game in, game out.
I actually want Locker to succeed, since a strong qb draft class is good for the Seahawks in any case. Locker does seem like a good fit for the Seahawks system, and I like to think our coaches can mold something out of him if they stay patient. I have a harder time if you take him so high in the draft that you’re almost forced into starting him early in his NFL career.
Anyway, I get your argument that the supporting cast is bad, and at least I personally don’t have a bias to condemn him for not winning. We should know better than to do that because Jay Cutler was in the same situation at Vanderbilt and is a great NFL qb if Mike Martz disappears today. Or Elway was like that further in the past. I understand the argument that you don’t win as much on a bad team, but you prove your ability to play in non-ideal situations. Cutler really improved in his senior year, and he started putting up big results, but still losing, against some top teams. I saw flashes of that from Locker last year, and was hoping that the flashes would turn into consistency this year, rather than more flashes. Given the UW situation, it is possible for Locker to still make up a lot of ground in postseason all-star games and workouts, maybe more than anyone else at QB.
How is Mallett ahead of Locker on Kiper’s board? Mallett may not even be the best QB on his team! Tyler Wilson came in and went 25/34 for 332 yards with 4 scores against Auburn. The following week, when Mallett went down again, Wilson went 3/5 for 71 yards. That’s 10.3 YPA compared to Mallett’s 9.9. I don’t really think Wilson is a better QB, but what this shows me is an average QB can be great in Petrino’s brilliant offense. Also look at the fact that no 6’7″-6’8″ QB has EVER succeeded in this league as well as Petrino’s QBs NEVER succeeding in this league (Dave Ragone, Stefan LeFors, Chris Redman, Brian Brohm). Combine that with Mallett’s character issues and you get a bust my dear Watson.
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