40: 4.55 (estimated)
Has a strong arm, able to fit the ball in tight windows. Has the caliber of arm that doesn't require him to set his feet to throw downfield. Shows good touch down the seam and seems more accurate when throwing deep over the middle. Athletic guy that is most effective when he can get outside the pocket and throw on the run. Can extend the play, and make teams pay when he tucks it and run. Has good speed and burst to make plays with his legs, and shows good toughness and physicality as a runner. Will lower the shoulder and run over defenders and throw out the stiff arm to break tackles. Will even get downfield and throw blocks for his running back. Shows ability to move around the pocket and find throwing lanes under pressure and a hard guy to bring down. Makes good reads and finds open receiver when blitzed. Has a quick release and does a nice job improvising. Shows ability to utilize the pump fake and can move the safety.
His accuracy is nothing to write home about and he misses a lot of open and easy throws. Will hang up the ball a bit too much on deep throws. Needs to improve his decision making and forces too many passes into coverage. Will throw the ball up for grabs at times when pressured, making too many mental errors. Not comfortable going to his second progression and tends to stare down his receivers. Lacks anticipation at times and waits for receivers to get open. Doesn't always show a great feel for pressure. At times can be too quick to tuck and run when he's outside the pocket. Has poor footwork and throws too often off his back foot. Doesn't always set up well on his drop back and will rush some throws. Needs to learn how to slide when he runs, as he won't last as long against NFL defenders as he does in the Pac-10.
Locker came to UW as a running option quarterback that was very similar to Eric Crouch at Nebraska. When Steve Sarkisian took over his junior year, he showed significant improvement, and the assumption was with a similar jump in his passing skills as a senior, he would be a no-brainer as a franchise QB. But he showed very little from his junior to senior year. Locker has all the physical tools teams look for in a franchise QB, and is known for his smarts, leadership potential, character, and work ethic. But he just is too consistent as a pocket passer. You see a handful of good NFL throws each game you watch him, but they are too far and few between and he still looks like he needs more seasoning on the college level before projecting to the pro game. As a freshman, he completed 47.3% of his 328 pass attempts for 2062 yards, 14 TDs, and 15 INTs. Also rushed for 986 yards and 13 touchdowns. Came back as a sophomore, but a broken thumb limited him to only 4 games. Completed 53.8% of 93 attempts for 512 yards, 1 TD, and rushed for 180 yards and 3 touchdowns. Record as a starter his first two years was 3-13. His absence basically caused Ty Willingham to get fired as UW went winless that season. Sarkisian came in the next year and his numbers showed big improvement: 58.4%, 394 attempts, 2800 yards, 21 TDs, 11 INTs, 388 rushing yards, 7 rushing TDs with a 4-8 record as a starter. Senior year, his record improved to 7-5, but his numbers took a dip: 55.4%-332-2265-17-9-385-6. He missed a game this past year with a broken rib, but played with the injury for the last month of the season. Missed a game as a freshman due to a concussion as well.
I think Locker can be a productive NFL starter, but not immediately. If he was to start as a rookie, I would expect that he wouldn't be anymore effective than Jimmy Clausen. But I think Locker has better intangibles and leadership than Clausen, which I think hurt Clausen a lot as a rookie in trying to win over teammates, which is a problem that I don't think Locker will have. He's never going to be a super accurate thrower, and is a guy that will struggle to complete more than 60% of his passes. But I think going forward that can improve. He'll work best in an offense that will try to use him in a role that won't stifle him from trying to create things with his legs. But throwing accurately and consistently from the pocket will be his biggest obstacle. With coaching, I think Locker can be an effective starter, and if he gets one or two years to sit and learn like Aaron Rodgers or Carson Palmer it would greatly enhance his future ability. But if you ask him to carry a team early on, he's going to struggle. He's a guy that if his character and intangibles are as good as people say they are, he's going to start to blossom and develop in Year 3 and beyond. Playing in a traditional West Coast offense should help him. His decision making is also going to be iffy as well, and he's going to be a guy that is going to throw a lot of picks just like Eli Manning or Jay Cutler. Manning is the player I would compare him with. Manning didn't complete more than 60% of his passes until his fifth year in the league, and has thrown INTs at the same rate as Favre. But if you're patient with Locker, give him some good weapons on the outside, and if he plays for a head coach that is offensive-oriented so he can get a lot of hands on tutelage, he has a chance of succeeding. I think most of his flaws can be improved, particularly if teams can improve his footwork, which should make him more accurate. Ultimately, I think Locker will be an above average starter that can be good enough to lead a team deep in the playoffs, but will need a strong supporting cast in order to be a guy that is capable of winning championships. At worst he'll be a talented, but sporadic below average starter like Chad Henne that can never be truly trusted to carry/lead a team, but at best can be a player up there with an Eli Manning, that everyone recognizes as an upper echelon guy, but there is something critical missing from his game that keeps him out of the conversation as a truly elite passer.
Locker would be future trade bait in Atlanta and could net the Falcons a high pick down the read because teams will like his potential.
Locker is probably on par with second round talent in terms of his NFL readiness a la Jimmy Clausen or Chad Henne. But if a team really falls in love with his character and leadership, then he merits a late first round pick because a team thinks that he'll be better down the road than he will be in the first few seasons.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Arm Strength: 4.0
Decision Making: 2.5
Pocket Awareness: 2.5
Scouting reports of the quarterbacks in the 2011 Draft.
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