Rob Rang has been up-and-down when it comes to Washington quarterback Jake Locker, moving him all over the place in his 2011 NFL mock draft. After a disappointing Senior Bowl, Rang dropped Locker out of the first round, and many other analysts followed suit. But since then, Locker has been rising ahead of the draft, and has been the biggest mover in Rang’s mock draft, shooting back into the first round and then some.
On Monday, Rang released his latest mock draft and Locker was back in the top-10. With quarterbacks in high-demand, teams are taking a closer look at Locker as they try to fill needs in the draft due to the uncertainty of the NFL lockout. The Tennessee Titans are one such team, with Rang pegging Locker as the Titans’ first round pick at No. 8 overall.
The Titans like Locker, though perhaps not enough to take him this high. Tennessee is exploring trade possibilities, I’m told, with an eye toward adding the Washington quarterback at a later point in the first round. The Titans might be wise to simply draft Locker here if they truly rank him significantly higher than the rest of the quarterbacks, as the Redskins (No. 10), Vikings (No. 12), Dolphins (No. 15) and Jaguars (No. 16) could each use a young quarterback to develop.
It’s the highest we’ve seen Locker since Todd McShay anointed him the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft and it makes sense. Tennessee needs a quarterback immediately as it tries to replace Vince Young while finding stability at a position that’s more closely resembled a revolving door recently. But, as Rang says, Locker is a stretch at No. 8. If the Titans can trade down, they may, but plenty of teams are chomping at the bit and looking for a capable quarterback.
Where once it appeared Locker had made the wrong decision in coming back to Washington, it now appears the need for quarterbacks and the labor uncertainty may play into his advantage. Though projections are all over the place for Locker, more mock drafts have him in the mid to early first round. With the draft just over a week away, it’s a good sign for Locker and Washington fans.
For more on the draft, stay with our Jake Locker projections StoryStream.