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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Mel Kiper Projects Jake Locker To Seattle Seahawks

Mel Kiper is back with the third edition of his 2011 NFL mock draft at ESPN and his projection for the Seattle Seahawks is a familiar one. Kiper had dropped Jake Locker from his Big Board, and mock draft, after a disappointing performance at the Senior Bowl. This time around, Locker is back in the first round, and the destination hits close to home.

Kiper has Jake Locker staying in town, taken by the Seattle Seahawks with the 25th pick in the NFL Draft. Locker did enough at the NFL Combine to alleviate some of the concerns about his accuracy and footwork, causing his draft stock to rise in the eyes of many. Is Locker the long-term answer for the Seahawks? Kiper isn’t so sure, but he does think Pete Carroll will take a chance.

He was impressive enough at the combine, proved that he’s every bit the athlete that Cam Newton is (they ran identical times in the 40), has a big-time arm, and just needs to prove that his accuracy is something that will develop when he has time to throw. This isn’t an endorsement of Locker as a guy who should step in and start for the Seahawks if Matt Hasselbeck isn’t back in 2011, but even if Seattle makes a move for a short-term answer at quarterback, Locker could be hard to pass up if Pete Carroll thinks he’s a solution for the long run

While it’s not encouraging to hear Locker may be a short-term, not long-term, answer at quarterback for the Seahawks, it’s still possible he develops into a capable starting quarterback. In all likelihood, Locker will have at least a year to develop in Seattle, biding his time and taking practice repetitions while Hasselbeck keeps his starting role.

For Locker, having Kiper project him as a first round pick has to be encouraging after free-falling last month. Whether the Seahawks take him or not, it appears Locker is safely in the first round again, with a chance to improve his draft stock in the coming month. With Washington’s Pro Day on the horizon and individual interviews with teams in the future, Locker has plenty of chances to improve ahead of the draft.

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