2011 NFL Mock Draft: Sports Illustrated's Don Banks Projects Jake Locker To Seattle

It’s been all about Jake Locker in the 2011 NFL mock drafts this week. From SB Nation’s latest to the Buffalo News mock draft, Locker has become a popular pick for the Seattle Seahawks. Between Locker’s local roots — growing up in Ferndale and attending the University of Washington — and the Seahawks’ need for a quarterback, the choice makes too much sense for many, though scouts are still skeptical of Locker’s ability.

Sports Illustrated’s Don Banks joined the Locker to Seattle bandwagon on Wednesday with his second mock draft of the year. His reasoning follows many others before him, with Banks noting Locker will have time to develop. Banks also notes Locker is making strides ahead of the draft, working on his mechanics with Ken O’Brien.

Locker to the hometown Seahawks does make some sense, because Seattle could afford to give him a year of development while either Matt Hasselbeck or Charlie Whitehurst hold down the fort in 2011. Locker is said to be making strides recently in terms of his accuracy issues while working with ex-Jets quarterback Ken O’Brien, and there’s still time for him to earn the first-round grade he appeared to have in his hip pocket at the close of his 2009 season.

If the Seahawks are going to pull the trigger on Locker, the reasons listed above will be why. It’s unlikely either Cam Newton or Blaine Gabbert will be around late in the first round, making Locker, or perhaps Ryan Mallett, the only options as far as top-flight quarterbacks go. Still, both of those two will need time to develop and time may be short with Matt Hasselbeck nearing retirement.

Locker will be at the NFL Combine this weekend, working out in front of every NFL team in Indianapolis. How he performs there, and whether his mechanics are improved, will go a long way towards determining his fate.

For more on the draft, check out our 2011 NFL mock draft StoryStream.

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