SB Nation’s latest 2011 NFL mock draft has the Seattle Seahawks taking Jake Locker with the 25th pick, but will Locker still be around? A month ago, Locker’s draft stock was in a free-fall, sliding quickly after a less than impressive performance at the Senior Bowl. But after regrouping and working extensively with trainers in California, Locker showed marked improvement at the NFL Combine, showing off his athleticism in the running drills and improved accuracy in the throwing drills. Those performances have him rising quickly, perhaps into the top-half of the first round.
CBS Sports’ Rob Rang is well-connected and knows the draft as well as anyone. So when he cites sources and starts narrowing his mock draft, we’d be wise to listen. And those sources are telling him the Minnesota Vikings are taking a serious look at quarterbacks, with Locker the preferred pick if Blaine Gabbert and Cam Newton aren’t available.
The Vikings will likely be forced to draft a quarterback and then scramble to sign a veteran whenever free agency comes. Though there are plenty of teams knocking Locker’s inaccuracy, he does have believers sprinkled throughout the league. Sources tell me the Vikings may be one of them and are more likely to take Locker over Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett.
Rang notes the Vikings are in a bad spot at quarterback with Brett Favre done and Tavaris Jackson likely to be on his way out of Minnesota. It’s that need, and Locker’s quickly rising stock, that may propel the former Washington quarterback into the first round and, perhaps, just outside of the top-10.
It’s been a wild ride for Locker ahead of the draft, but it appears he’s solidified his spot in the first round after alleviating some of the concerns about his throwing ability. With more workouts scheduled, he still has plenty of chances to impressive and continue to move up the boards ahead of April’s NFL Draft.
For the latest on the draft, check out the rest of our 2011 NFL mock draft StoryStream.