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Your Mid-Season Media Clown Watch/Jake Locker Update

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Washington Huskies quarterback Jake Locker has his team fighting it’s guts out at 3 wins and 4 losses this year, with the most impressive victory being a last second win at the gun over USC.  With that win, Locker moves to 2-1 for his career against the Trojans, and establishes his legacy as an above average college quarterback, and one of the better QBs that Washington has had in it’s history, dating back to the early 90’s with Mark Brunell and Billy Joe Hobert.

Locker also continues to be projected as an early first round pick by television analysts.  He has now started 34 college games at Washington, and if he stays healthy, should be able to get up into the rage of 40 starts by the time he makes the jump to the pros.  That’s a good sample size to tell what kind of quarterback a player is.

In Locker’s case, the best part of his game is his legs, which makes him a great comparable for Brunell, another Husky quarterback who struggled to complete even 55% of his passes in college.  Brunell went on to have a very successful career, playing for the Packers, Jaguars, and Redskins before finishing up as a backup for the Saints and Jets.

Again though, Brunell was a fifth round draft choice, a project pick in the 1993 draft by Packers GM Ron Wolf, because it was hard to see any reason prior to 1994 to believe that Brett Favre might someday be a hall of famer.  Brunell was the pick necessary to insure that the Packers would have a quarterback.  They did, and Brunell was dealt to the expansion Jacksonville Jaguars in 1995.

At that point, two years into Brunell’s career, it was a safe bet for any team that had a quarterback that Brunell would be worth the price of two mid-round picks.  We have no idea right now if Locker is worth two mid round picks, and that’s not even particularly relevant considering that a team is going to have to use a valuable first round pick to get him.

Locker’s career completion percentage has actually declined from where it was in 2009, when it was claimed by Scouts Inc. Todd McShay that Locker was passing accurately, but just not getting any help from his receivers.  Obviously at Washington, Locker isn’t going to get the most help, so this could be the case, but it reminds me of the Michael Vick conundrum in Atlanta where Vick’s receivers were at the top of the league in dropped passes year after year, even though Atlanta overhauled it’s receivers more or less every year.  Then when Atlanta brought in Joey Harrington to replace Vick, Roddy White and Michael Jenkins both had career years.  Vick was getting screwed by dropped passes, but the dropped passes were the result of systematic inaccuracy and lack of timing, not because the receivers were bad.

That’s the argument being made for Jake Locker’s passing accuracy.  You can put the tape on him yourself if you wish, and it’s clear that Locker lacks the passing accuracy to be a great quarterback at the next level.  We know this as open-minded fans because he played so much college ball that his strengths and weaknesses are apparent.  Locker moves the chains because he can use his feet on third down as well as any quarterback in football, and plays pretty well from outside of the pocket, which is among the many things that Locker does right.  He also has a good chance to get Washington bowl eligible, needing to simply finish 3-2 on the season.

A bowl game will help showcase Locker’s many talents, but with all the flaws in his game, it’s not going to help his overall draft profiled.  I doubt that’s a big deal for him.  Locker made the correct decision to stay in school, and it would be a great accomplishment should he prove able to get the Huskies back to the bowls.  Locker isn’t hopeless as an NFL talent, he’s just proving to be a poor use of a high and valuable NFL draft pick.

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