Washington quarterback Jake Locker has been called a reps quarterback ahead of the 2011 NFL Draft, a fancy way of saying he needs time to develop in the NFL. Locker is far from a finished product at this point as questions about his accuracy and mechanics persist. It makes spending a first-round pick on Locker a gamble in many ways, with most scouts opining Locker won’t be making an immediate impact in the NFL, though his upside and physical tools could pay off in the long run. Because of the risk, Locker has fallen out of many 2011 NFL mock drafts, though he’s recently showed back up in the first round as analysts continue to struggle with where to put him.
In his latest mock draft, Buffalo News’ Allen Wilson projects the Seahawks will take Locker. We’ve seen many predict the same recently, with the sentiment being that the Seahawks could allow Locker to develop as Matt Hasselbeck’s career winds down, perhaps using Charlie Whitehurst as a short-term stop-gap solution.
Matt Hasselbeck is expected to return and Charlie Whitehurst also will be back, so the Seahawks can afford to gamble on Locker, who has talent but needs time for polishing.
His reasoning is solid, but should the Seahawks gamble with a first-round pick? It’s unlikely Locker will be around late in the second round, making the 25th pick now or never time for Pete Carroll and the rest of the Seahawks staff.
As Wilson notes, making trades to move around in the draft is much more complicated this year with a lockout looming and the chances of a new collective bargaining agreement being in place ahead of the draft slim to none. Without an agreement, teams will only be able to swap picks. Additionally, with free agency at a standstill, teams will have to rely more heavily on the draft to fill needs, perhaps forcing the Seahawks into dealing with other pressing issues ahead of drafting a quarterback seen as a developmental prospect.
Locker has a chance to shine in the immediate future as he heads to the NFL combine with plenty to prove. Keep an eye on how Locker performs in a situation almost tailor-made to showcase his skills.
For more on the draft, check out our 2011 NFL mock draft StoryStream.