For now, the Eagles are set at quarterback with Michael Vick, Kevin Kolb and Mike Kafka. But the writing appears to be on the wall that Vick will be extended, which makes it increasingly likely for Kolb to be traded. If he is, the Eagles could be in the market to draft Vick’s heir apparent, as he’ll be 30 this season.
Even if they sign a veteran backup, there’s a good chance the Eagles draft a quarterback to compete with Kafka on the third day of the draft. If Locker drops, it could shake up the whole board at quarterback. Here’s Robert Brewer’s look at Locker and the chances he goes in the first round, or to a divisional rival of the Birds.
by ROBERT BREWER
JAKE IS NO LOCKER
Star QB’s Draft Stock Takes Dramatic Hit in 2010
As soon as draft experts across the country started preparing their 2011 mock drafts, there were many names near the top of the list. The usual suspects ranged from Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett to Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn. However, if there ever was a consensus number one overall projection, the conversation started and ended with one name: Jake Locker.
The hype machine for Locker began in 2009 and it took the Huskie quarterback to new levels. A 300 yard passing performance against LSU in Week 1, a stunning upset over nationally ranked USC in Week 3, and accounting for five total touchdowns in the season finale against Cal helped to form the popular opinion that Jake would be a “Lock” to become a top five selection in 2010. That is of course, if he decided to leave school early.
Rather than capitalizing and striking while the iron was hot, Locker stayed in school and made the same mistake that Sam Bradford made the previous year. Granted, Bradford has since recovered from that mistake of staying in school, still became the number one overall pick, and now has his St. Louis Rams in the hunt for a division title. However, there is one glaring difference between these two players: Locker just isn’t as good as Bradford was from the pocket, and for that matter, he never was.
I believe that staying at the University of Washington for 2010 has really exposed Locker’s inability to consistently beat teams from the pocket. Locker always struck me as a quarterback who would rely too heavily on his athletic ability to create plays rather than staying in the pocket and reading a defense, making accurate throws. This is always a concern for me when I evaluate mobile passers because those type of quarterbacks have relied on their legs for so long, they are in for a world of pain when they square off against NFL defensive ends that run as fast as tight ends and wide receivers. Don’t get me wrong, I do like mobility from the quarterback position, but in order to win in the NFL, mobility must be a supplement to what you do in the pocket. It can’t be the main course.
And I understand that Locker has battled a broken rib and a concussion this season, not to mention the fact that he doesn’t have the supporting cast of a Sam Bradford, so he is not in an ideal situation. But guess what? I don’t care! There is no possible way to justify giving Locker $50 million guaranteed when can’t complete 60% of his passes in college. Not to mention going 4-20 for 74 yards and two INT’s against Nebraska. Elite quarterbacks do have bad games from time to time, but that performance was just flat out dismal.
As a result of this poor senior season, there is no doubt in my mind that Locker slips out of the first round. As far as the Eagles are concerned, they seem to be set at quarterback. Philadelphia has an MVP QB in Vick, they signed Kolb to a $12 million extension, and Kafka was a fourth round pick last year. The only way Locker becomes an Eagle is if he falls to the 5th round or later, which I don’t see happening.
I could possibly see Locker going to one of two division opponents; the Cowboys or Redskins. Dallas needs to develop a quarterback behind Tony Romo, and the passer they choose better be an athletic one since their offensive line is not a great pass protection unit, which explains why Romo is currently out for the season. The Cowboy’s current starter, Jon Kitna, is a classic band-aid quarterback who is merely a stop gap option until somebody better comes along.
With regards to the Redskins, the fourth quarter benching of a healthy Donovan McNabb versus Detroit clearly tells me that head coach Mike Shannahan is looking for something else, and that something else can’t possibly be Rex Grossman or John Beck. Although Washington usually trades all their draft picks for washed up, over-priced veterans, I would not be surprised to see the Redskins give Locker a look.
So as Jake Locker and the Huskies (4-6) get ready to play out the string against Cal (5-6) this weekend, people may start drawing the comparisons to Bradford and Locker. However, as we project what both quarterbacks could do in a pro style game at similar points in their careers, I really don’t think there is a comparison.