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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Jake Locker Goes Early In Todd McShay's, Not A First-Rounder In Mel Kiper's

Looking at the various 2011 NFL mock drafts, it’s clear the experts have no idea where to put Washington quarterback Jake Locker right now. An illustration of how difficult it’s been to peg where Locker may end up lies in the two most recent ESPN mock drafts, submitted by Todd McShay and Mel Kiper. At best, there’s a 25 spot swing, with one projecting Locker as a high first-rounder and the other pegging Locker as a second-rounder.

Todd McShay has Locker off the board at No. 8. The lack of top-end quarterback prospects in the draft helps Locker here, according to McShay. Even though he calls Locker a reach at No. 8, he justifies it by saying the Tennessee Titans have a need at quarterback and Locker may fill it. Only Blaine Gabbert grades out high-enough to be taken in the top-10, but it’s likely he’s off the board by the eight pick. That leaves Locker, Ryan Mallett and Cam Newton for the Titans, and McShay feels Locker is the best option here.

Right now, Locker isn’t a first-rounder, according to Mel Kiper. In his first mock draft, Kiper projected the Seattle Seahawks would take a quarterback. With the choice between Ryan Mallett and Jake Locker, though, Kiper felt the Seahawks would choose the former, based on what his sources are telling him. Though he doesn’t have Locker in the first round right now, he hedges by saying the Seahawks attitude could change and Locker could see his stock improve down the line.

Where will Locker end up? It’s almost a certainty that he’ll overcome the questions about his accuracy as he wows scouts ahead of April’s draft. There’s no denying Locker’s character and his physical tools are outstanding. Someone in the top-half of the draft will snatch him up as his stock continues to rise.