Jake Locker

10 Bold Predictions for the NFL Draft

10. Al Davis will shake things up
Normally this wouldn’t be a bold prediction, but without a 1st-round pick Davis will have to get creative.  Perhaps he’ll trade into the 1st round in an effort to land Jason Campbell’s eventual replacement. Ryan Mallet certainly fits the mold of an Al Davis quarterback…

9. Two or fewer trades occur in 1st round
After this weekend, no one knows when the next time will be that teams will have opportunity to fill holes. This could be their only chance to address some needs before the free agency period – which may not be as active as we’re used to. Draft picks are more valuable than ever this year and most teams will be reluctant to part with them.

8. Patrick Peterson comes off the board within the first six picks
Most mock drafts have Peterson falling to the 49ers, but he won’t last that long (sorry Niners fans). Denver supposedly likes him. Buffalo is unpredictable, so who knows what they’ll do. Arizona could settle for him. Dallas could trade up. And if all else fails, the Browns will snatch him up at No. 6.

7.  Mark Herzlich has a looooong wait in Radio City Music Hall
Herzlich is one of the 25 players attending the draft, and while the cancer survivor will get a great ovation when he is finally selected, he’s going to be waiting awhile. He clearly lost a step after returning to the field this past year, and he is unlikely to come off the board with in the first three rounds. 

6. Three receivers go in the 1st round
A.J. Green and Julio Jones will go in the top 10, but someone else will join them later in the 1st round.  The Rams could trade back and select some such as Titus Young or Jon Baldwin. The Falcons and Jets are two others possibly interested in a receiver in the late 1st.

5. Mark Ingram falls to the late 1st… and possibly further
Running backs have such a short lifespan in the NFL and are so readily available in the middle rounds of the draft that teams are becoming increasingly less interested in spending high picks on them. Ingram is the consensus top available player at the position, but there are very few teams desperate to fill a hole at that position. If the Dolphins don’t take him at No. 15, he’ll fall into the 20s and possibly into the 2nd round.

4. The Jaguars shock us with their 1st round pick
It will be tough to top the Tyson Alualu selection, but GM Gene Smith will surprise us once again.  Maybe they decide to go for a quarterback? Mallett? Locker? Ponder? Or maybe they reach for a receiver? Titus Young? Torrey Smith?

3. Rumors of Da’Quan Bowers’ fall prove to be greatly overstated
Those screaming the loudest that Bowers knee is probably are probably the ones hoping he falls to them. I wouldn’t be shocked if he lands in Cleveland at No. 6 and I have a hard time seeing him fall further than No. 12 to the Vikings. Sorry Bucs fans, he’s not going be there at No. 20.

2. Jake Locker falls further than expected
Rumors have swirled that the Redskins may want him at No. 10. If I had to bet I’d say they do like him, but would prefer to wait until the 41st selection. Nothing he did on the field this year resembled a 1st-round pick, let alone a top-10 pick. Most teams love his talent – and it only takes one to make him a 1st-round pick – but he still has a 2nd or 3rd round grade on most draft boards. 

1. Only three quarterbacks will go in the 1st round
Despite rumors that as many as five signal callers could go in the top 32 picks, only three will actually come off the board – Newton, Gabbert and third (possibly to the Dolphins). Everyone else will wisely wait until the 2nd and 3rd round where less money will be on the line.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft Comments Off

The Redskins Draft Strategy

Over the offseason, I’ve been attempting to figure out my best guess for what Mike Shanahan and company will do in their first real offseason. Shanahan and Allen have had their staff for a full year now, and are now familiar with all the players. Shanahan knew the players only by film last offseason, but now knows what he truly has. It will take a couple seasons before Shanahan is fully comfortable, but he is on his way. In all of the mock drafts, most people have the Redskins selecting from a pool of players consisting of Julio Jones, AJ Green, or Jake Locker- often stating WR and QB as the biggest needs. But, this is my take on the Redskins approach, come April 28th. Read more

Posted on by Matt Peterson in 2011 NFL Draft, Redskins 1 Comment

Denver Broncos targeting QB in draft?

There has been plenty of speculation that the Denver Broncos new regime may not be sold in Tim Tebow. Now they may be starting to set in motion the events that will eventually cut Tebow’s career short in Denver.

According to various reports, the Broncos are expected to bring Jake Locker in for a private workout prior to the draft.

As always, this doesn’t mean that the Broncos have their heart set on Locker. However, the fact that they’re interviewing a quarterback who will be selected in the first two rounds is noteworthy. Teams only get 30 interviews, so they’re unlikely to waste one on a player that they have absolutely no intention of drafting.

So while this certainly doesn’t mean that Locker is going to push Tebow out of Denver it does mean that the Broncos would consider selecting a quarterback, possibly as early as the 2nd round.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Broncos Comments Off

NFL Combine prop bets?

For the past few years Bodog.com has sent me a list of NFL Draft prop bets. I always just hit the delete button because I have better things to do in late April than waste my time trying to figure out if the Big East or ACC will have more top-50 picks or whatever other nonsense they come up with.

But this year they’re stepping up their game, and I’m intrigued.

I recently received an email with NFL Combine prop bets. This is possibly the most ridiculous thing you could bet on, because we’re talking about a difference of hundredths of a second, or quarters of an inch on some of these, but hey, it’s not like anything else interesting is going on in the sports world in late February.

So I’ll take the time to weigh in on a few…

Who will have the fastest 40 Yard Dash Time
Christian Ponder (QB FSU)                                 -120
Jake Locker (QB Washington)                           -120

This is a gimme. Locker should be faster than Ponder by a full 10th of a second (and that fact that .10 is considered a large margin is exactly why you’re a fool if you bet on any of these).

Who will have the fastest 40 Yard Dash Time
Mark Ingram (RB Alabama)                                 -120
Ryan Williams (RB Virginia Tech)                     -120

Supposedly Ingram is going to run in the 4.4s, but I’ll believe it when I see it. My money’s on Williams.

Who will have the fastest 40 Yard Dash Time
Julio Jones (WR Alabama)                                  Even
Jon Baldwin (WR Pittsburgh)                               -130

Baldwin’s camp has been hyping him up and he reportedly has been clocked in the 4.3 range. Not sure I believe that, but it won’t be difficult for him to post a better time than Jones. I’ll be mildly surprised if Jones cracks 4.5.

Who will the most bench press repetitions?
Nate Solder (OT Colorado)                                  -130
Gabe Carimi (OT Wisconsin)                               Even

Carimi is the easy choice here. Not only does he just appear more muscular than Solder, but Solder is 6’8″ – the taller you are, the harder it is to get large number of reps on the bench.

Who will have the highest vertical leap?
A.J. Green (WR Georgia)                                    -130
Patrick Peterson (CB LSU)                                 Even

This could be a close call, but my money’s on Peterson. It’s very rare for someone with Green’s height to compete with a guy like Peterson in the vertical.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft 1 Comment

All-Overrated Team (pre-combine edition)

QB – Jake Locker, Washington
Locker is all hype and no substance. He lacks the accuracy to play quarterback in the NFL and he’s going to fall out of the 1st round.
RB – Mark Ingram, Alabama
Ingram wasn’t even the best running back on his own team this past season. Comparisons to Emmitt Smith are being tossed around, but he reminds me more of Ron Dayne.
WR – Jonathan Baldwin, Pittsburgh
A gifted athlete with elite size and strength, but just doesn’t play up to his potential.
TE – D.J. Williams, Arkansas
Athletic, but doesn’t really have a position. Too short to be a star at tight end.
OT – Nate Solder, Colorado
Suffering (or benefiting, I guess) from the media’s Bruce Campbell syndrome. He’s athletic, but far from a finished product.
OG – Mike Pouncey, Florida
He’s not his brother. He’s good, but his stock in the media has risen because of his last name.
DE – Adrian Clayborn, Iowa
After a stellar 2009 he took a step backwards as a senior. There are some concerns about his effort on the field.
DT – Marcell Dareus, Alabama
He’s never performed at an elite level as a full-time starter – not exactly the résumé of a top-10 pick.
OLB – Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue
Is he strong enough to play defensive end? Is he athletic enough to play linebacker?
ILB – Greg Jones, Michigan State
A gifted athlete who consistently falls short of expectations. He benefits from a very weak class for the position.
CB – Brandon Harris, Miami FL
Fast enough to stick with anyone, but he’s undersized and consistently gets beat by more physical receivers.
S – Robert Sands, West Virginia
Its easy to be intrigued by his size, but very few have ever played the position effectively at his size.
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft 1 Comment

Leslie Frazier: Vikings need QB in draft

It’s no secret that the Vikings need a new quarterback. Brett Favre is retired. Tarvaris Jackson is a free agent. And Joe Webb, a guy who was drafted as a receiver, probably isn’t the long term answer.

However, many have speculated that the Vikings would prefer to address that need in free agency or through a trade. Just two years removed from the NFC Championship Game, the Vikings aren’t exactly in rebuilding mode. A veteran quarterback (McNabb? Kolb?) could easily lead them back to the playoffs.

In a recent interview with Pro Football Weekly, Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier hinted that the Vikings may actually be targeting a quarterback in the draft.

When asked about the important of acquiring a star quarterback Frazier responded:

It’ll probably be just like it will be here in Minnesota, in this draft, to get that star quarterback.

Frazier continued, discussing some of the qualities he and his staff will look for in the Vikings future franchise quarterback:

[I would] like to find a guy of high character who has leadership abilities, a strong leader in that regard. A guy who is very competitive, who has a strong desire to win. Of course, he has to have the talent to be accurate with the football. The leadership and the character, along with the competitive spirit — I mean those are the key characteristics that you look for.

These comments are interesting for two reasons:

1) We’ve assumed for awhile that the Vikings would consider a quarterback in the draft, but we now have that confirmed.

2) His comments regarding leadership and a competitive nature make me wonder if the Vikings are team that could fall for someone like Jake Locker, much like the Broncos fell in love with Tim Tebow last year. Locker lacks 1st-round talent, but has potential, work ethic and leadership abilities. On the flip side, would they rule out Ryan Mallett for those same reasons? He’s more polished than Locker, but the perception is that he may lack the desire to be great, along with some other character concerns.

I currently have the Vikings selecting Mallett in my most recent mock draft. Mike Band has them passing on Mallett and taking Gabe Carimi instead.

At this point, both options are still realistic. Until they sit down with Mallett, even the Vikings won’t have a concrete opinion about his character concerns and how he may fit into their locker room. I suspect we’ll get a better idea as to which quarterback prospects they’re interested in after the combine when teams really begin the process of narrowing down their draft board.


Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft, Vikings 3 Comments

ProFootballTalk takes unnecessary shot at Todd McShay

Evan Silva of ProFootballTalk posted a report which seemed to serve no purpose other than taking a shot at Todd McShay.

The report centered around McShay’s previous praise of Jake Locker and more specifically to his Senior Bowl performance. During Senior Bowl week, McShay was one of the few still supporting Locker. Yet on SportsCenter today McShay apparently mentioned Locker as one of the “losers” during the early draft process.

Silva calls out McShay for waffling and goes so far as to question whether he is “swiping other draft analysts’ ideas without assigning proper credit.”

This is nothing more than bitterness from someone who would trade places with McShay in a heartbeat.

McShay personally didn’t feel as though Locker underperformed at the Senior Bowl (I disagree, but that’s beside the point). However, McShay can still have that opinion and also accurately report that the consensus was that his stock slipped.

This is simply part of being a draft analyst.

McShay generates his own opinions, from a scouting standpoint, but he also predicts what will happen and reports news. The fact remains, no matter what McShay thought of Locker, the general consensus was he struggled in Mobile. And it’s his job to report that story.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft 1 Comment

Jake Locker Scouting Report

Jake Locker QB Washington #10

Ht: 6’2

Wt: 229

Strengths:
Adequate height. Good build, capable of taking hits. Above average athlete for the quarterback position. Capable of making plays with his feet. Strong arm. Fundamentals are solid. Looks good throwing the ball in the pocket and also on the run.
Weaknesses:
Durability is a serious concern. Missed time in 2007 with a neck injury. Missed nearly the entire 2008 season with a broken thumb. Missed time in 2010 with broken ribs. Decision making is also a concern. Overconfident in his ability to squeeze passes into tight coverage. Reckless with the football and has shown little to no improvement in this area throughout his career. Has developed bad habits with his decision making as a result of the lack of talent around him. Accuracy is only average. Limited experience throwing the deep ball.
Comments:
Locker is a frustrating prospect because he’s shown so much potential, but has shown so little improvement. His apologists will point to the lack of talent around him, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that he only made marginal strides from his sophomore to senior year. The foundation of an elite quarterback is definitely there – the size, build, arm strength, athleticism – but he needs a lot of work on his decision making ability. In time, he could become an upper-level NFL talent, but he has plenty of work to do.
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2011 Comments Off

Is Jake Locker still a 1st-round pick?

Throughout his career the Jake Locker apologists have pointed to his lack of surrounding talent as an excuse for his poor performances on the field.

As I said once the Senior Bowl rosters were announced, and other agreed, with players like Titus Young and Austin Pettis on his team there’s no more built-in excuse. He needed to have a big week to justify all the hype.

Locker's stock continues to fall

So with his big week in Mobile wrapped up, is Locker still a 1st-round pick?

The answer should be a resounding no, but that doesn’t mean he can’t still sneak into the latter half of the round.

Nothing Locker did this week made him look like a 1st-round pick. He showed off his athleticism, but his accuracy – the single most important quality in a quarterback – was average at best.

What I find most concerning about Locker is the fact that he doesn’t have any obvious flaws other than accuracy. He’s a hard worker, he has a strong arm and mechanics are solid. With all that in place, I think coaches will have difficulty improving his accuracy.

Take Tim Tebow as an counterexample. Tebow’s accuracy was often shaky, but his mechanics were awful in college. It was easy to see why a coach would look at him and see the potential. He had the work ethic and athleticism necessary to give a coach, such as Josh McDaniels, reason to believe that he could develop Tebow into a quality NFL starting quarterback.

I think it’s harder to see that potential in Locker because it’s harder to identify something that needs to be fixed.

As for his 1st-round status, I now believe it’s unlikely that anyone looking to fill an immediate hole at quarterback would take a chance on Locker. He will struggle mightily if inserted into a starting role in 2011.

However, a team with a veteran already in place may be willing to take a chance on him in the late 1st round. The Patriots may be the most likely team to take that chance.

It was rumored that Bill Belichick had a strong interest in Tim Tebow last year. Locker has many of the same qualities as Tebow, and Belichick could be intrigued by the possibility of developing him as Tom Brady’s eventual replacement. With six picks in the top 100, the Patriots could easily justify spending one on a developmental player such as Locker while still having enough picks remaining to fill their needs.


(polls)

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft, Patriots 2 Comments

Players who need a big week at the Senior Bowl

Andy Dalton - QB – TCU
Opinions of Dalton vary greatly. Some feel as though he is a fringe 1st-rounder, others believe he is a late-round prospect. How he performs this week could sway a lot of scouts one way or the other. He wasn’t always consistent at TCU, and the fact that he wasn’t being tested against elite defenses on a weekly basis raises some concerns. Going head-to-head with the top prospects in the nation will help us get a better idea of how he really stacks up.

Gabe Carimi – OT – Wisconsin
I’m not convinced that Carimi can play left tackle.  He held his own against players such as Adrian Clayborn and Cameron Heyward, but neither of those guys is an elite pass rusher. I need to see him match up against faster edge rushers before I would be willing to consider him a left tackle.

Casey Matthews and Jake Locker both need big weeks to prove doubters wrong

Casey Matthews – ILB – Oregon
Like his older brother, Casey is never the best athlete on the field, but what he lacks in talent he makes up for in effort. Just as Clay rose up the draft boards in 2009, I expect Casey to do the same this offseason. This week will be his best opportunity to separate himself from some of the others in a relatively week class for inside linebackers.

Jake Locker – QB – Washington
Locker’s senior year was a letdown, and this is his best chance to prove his doubters wrong. Locker’s apologists point to his supporting cast as an excuse for his performance. Well, no such excuse can be made this week. He is the most talented of the senior quarterbacks and if he can’t outperform guys like Andy Dalton and Colin Kaepernick, be prepared for his stock to plummet.

Greg Salas – WR – Hawaii
I like Salas a lot; he has good size and great hands and was tremendously productive at Hawaii. However, everyone is always skeptical of someone who puts up big numbers in Hawaii’s offense.  This is a very weak class of senior receivers, and Salas has a chance to make a name for himself this week.

Bilal Powell – RB – Louisville
Scouts have very little film on which to grade Powell. He saw limited playing time until his senior year. However, he is a bruising downhill runner and could be a standout this week in Mobile.  If he emerges as one of the top senior running backs, he could raise his stock to the 2nd or 3rd round range. However, if he struggles his stock will fall fast.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft 1 Comment