Earlier in the week I commented on how the Redskins’ picking ahead of Seattle could define both team’s draft.
The fact is – both have very similar needs, not to mention at quarterback. The decision to bench Donovan McNabb clearly had nothing to do with giving Rex Grossman his chance – it simply sets the wheels in motion for the quarterback’s release.
Maybe it also shows Washington are now playing for draft position?
Pro Football Talk relays a discussion held on the NFL Network about the subject. I think there’s every chance Washington have decided they need to draft a new quarterback and are acting now to give themselves a better chance of achieving that.
The names touted in PFT are Cam Newton and Ryan Mallett. I disagree. Jake Locker will be the quarterback Washington intends to draft.
Everyone is down on Locker at the moment – and with good reason. Everything people report about Locker is true – he’s not progressed this year as a passer, he’s still very inaccurate and he’s struggled badly against half-decent opponents.
There’s absolutely no doubt that will concern some scouts and GM’s enough to move Locker way down the board.
For others – it will mean little compared to the potential upside the Huskies QB brings to the table. Locker’s arm, athletic abilities, character, decent mechanics – it doesn’t make it right but some teams will ignore the issues and will feel they can turn him into a pro-passer.
The simple fact is, Seattle and Washington both have very similar offensive schemes and make very similar demands from their QB’s.
There’s enough out there regarding Mike Shanahan’s admiration for Locker for it to be more than rogue speculation.
The ties between Pete Carroll and Locker are obvious – they are clearly close as seen when Carroll has attended Washington practises. When Carroll was at USC, he called Locker the best QB he’d faced. There was speculation from Scout.com’s Chris Steuber (now with NFL Draft Scout) that Locker almost made a dramatic U-turn to declare for the 2010 draft due to Carroll’s arrival in Seattle and the pair’s admiration for each other. There’s also the fact Carroll’s trusted former offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian has been Locker’s coach for two years.
Believe as much of this as you wish, but there’s every reason the two coaches see Locker in a much more positive light than most others. After all – it wouldn’t be the first time physical and character qualities dwarfed accuracy problems in grading.
It could be as little as a two-team shoot-out between Washington and Seattle. There may be other candidates (Arizona?) in the running.
Locker, at least in my opinion, is much closer to the kind of quarterback Shanhan or Carroll would want rather than a prospect like Mallett. Neither will likely get a shot at Newton, who’s being seriously under rated as a mid/late first round pick.
Maybe I’m wrong about this. I’m willing to be proven completely wrong. It’s a rather substantial ‘hunch’.
But why else are Washington making this move? While Seattle carry on with Matt Hasselbeck, potentially earning an unlikely playoff spot with a 7-9 or 8-8 record, the Redskins are making a huge statement about their intentions. They are out of playoff contention because they don’t play in a division containing Arizona, St. Louis and San Francisco.
It’s a stab in the dark – but maybe they’re thinking ‘let’s make sure we’re above Seattle’ – or anyone else they suspect will be interested.
Don’t sleep on Locker as a top-15 or even a top-10 pick. As I said before – it doesn’t make it right if he does go in that region. His issues may eventually be his downfall in the NFL.
Whilst most people have written him off going even in round one, that probably won’t be the case come next April and there may be more than two teams fighting over his services. If Washington are canning the season for draft position, I wouldn’t bet against Locker being the reason – with the possible intention of guaranteeing a position above Seattle who are just one win better off than the ‘Skins at this stage.