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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Jake Locker, Stephen Paea Slide Out Of The Top 32

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For different reasons, two local prospects are sliding as the 2011 NFL Draft approaches. One of those prospects — Jake Locker — has questions about his accuracy, mechanics and football IQ, if you will. The other, Stephen Paea, suffered an injury at the Senior Bowl, and has seen his stock fall because of it, leaving him outside the first round. As we’ve seen this week, the mock drafts have reflected both prospects’ falling stocks, with each sliding all the way out of the first round.

Over at CBS Sports, Rob Rang updated his “Big Board” on Friday, and a few names are noticeable absent. Both Locker and Paea are out of the top 32. Paea is out because of the injury, something Rang noted. With Locker, however, he doesn’t offer an explanation in the post. Considering what’s gone on in the last two weeks, it’s not hard to figure out.

Is it a death blow that Locker is falling with two months to go before the draft? Not at all. In fact, Locker has plenty to gain and not a ton to lose with the NFL combine and individual workouts coming up. There’s no way Locker falls past the early to mid second round, but he can shoot up draft boards with strong workouts. And with the workouts come the interviews, as well, something Locker will clearly excel at.

What we’re seeing with Locker recently is the hype colliding with realism. Yes, his physical tools are outstanding — he’s definitely a gifted athlete. But at the same time, there are questions about his ability to play quarterback that he simply cannot shake.

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