Locker is an über-talented player who has all of the physical tools to be an elite NFL quarterback. There are a few areas of his game that need some major adjustment, but you can’t overlook all of the potential that he possesses and his prototypical NFL arm. With some work on his accuracy, decision making, and disregard for his body, Locker could make some NFL team much better next year. He’s got a bright future ahead of him. I project that he will be a mid-to-late first round draft pick.
This is scouts’ second-biggest concern when it comes to Locker. He has plenty of tools to work with in his arsenal, but sometimes he doesn’t use them in the most effective ways possible. He has a tendency to depend too much on his big arm when making throws, tossing up deep balls and trying to thread needles that have nowhere to fit through. All too often, he relies on his feet to make plays and gives up on his progressions too early. Not to make excuses for him, but it can’t be easy to make decisions with multiple defensive linemen crashing down upon you on almost every play thanks to subpar pass blocking. His pre-snap reads still need some help as he has trouble reading disguises in the defense from time to time.
Locker possesses an extremely strong arm that allows him to make all of the throws that NFL quarterbacks needs to make. He shows a good ability to thread the needle and make throws into tight coverage if he can find the accuracy for it. He can make throws to the far sideline with ease. Arm strength allows him to throw deep balls with ease, but they can often be off the mark due to a lack of accuracy. This will be the area that makes him hard to pass up for many NFL teams.
Easily Locker’s biggest area of concern. He has a tendency to throw over the heads of his receivers. When throwing routes towards the sideline, he depends too much on his arm strength and either throws them ahead of the receiver or in the dirt at their feet. Too often tries to make tough throws by using his cannon of an arm instead of using finesse, which gets him in trouble more often than not. Locker is almost more accurate when he is rolling out of the pocket, even to his right. He does an exception job of squaring his shoulders when throwing on the run. Again, it couldn’t have been easy to consistently throw accurate passes with the poor offensive line that the Huskies provided him with.
Has a strong, over-the-top release that helps him from getting too many of his passes batted down. Footwork in the pocket is adequate, but can get happy-feet when the pocket starts to collapse. He does a good job of setting his feet when throwing the ball and usually steps into his throws even when getting hit, although does occasionally throw off back foot after taking numerous hits. His play-action fakes are usually very well played-out and can often bait linebackers into playing the run.
A big part of Locker’s game is his athleticism and ability to make something out of nothing with his feet. He can almost always escape the pocket with ease, although he tends to rely too heavily on that ability. Out on the perimeter is where he makes some of his best throws. He is sneaky fast, often flying past defenders who underestimate his speed. If he can learn to control his urge to run every other play and use his athleticism only when necessary, he could become a nightmare for opposing defenses.
Locker’s release is quick and does a good job of getting it out of his hands once he finds his target. With subpar pass blocking, he had to learn to get the ball out of his hands quickly at UW, so that shouldn’t be too much of an issue, especially if the team that drafts him provides him with a decent offensive line.
Size, Speed, Strength & Agility
The strength category for Locker is far beyond where it needs to be for a quarterback. When scrambling, he runs hard and always delivers a blow when taking on a defender. He isn’t necessarily a workout warrior, but his natural athleticism helps make him a strong, explosive player. Locker has ideal bulk but is a bit shorter than you’d like for an NFL quarterback. His speed is well above average for the position.
This is another area of concern for Locker. During his time at UW, he missed a total of 10 games due to injuries. He suffered a concussion in 2007 that cost him one game, a broken thumb in 2008 that cost him eight games, and a broken rib in 2010 that cost him one game. This can be avoided, however, if a coach can break him of his habit of taking on defenders when he scrambles instead of just sliding and protecting himself. His tenacity causes him to take unnecessary risks that lead to injuries.
Locker is a great, natural leader who isn’t afraid to put the team on his back and carry them to a victory. Considering the lack of talent around him, it’s impressive that he was so tenacious and determined to win as many games as he did. On numerous occasions, he single-handedly led his team to come-from-behind wins and never outwardly complained about it. He is a vocal leader both on and off the field and possesses a great work ethic. He is very involved in the community and doesn’t let his all-star status get to his head. There are no off-the-field issues for Locker that I am aware of.
No one should be able to question Locker’s toughness. He has battled through multiple injuries throughout his career, making plenty of plays in the process. Doesn’t shy away from hits and is always willing to put his shoulder down to pick up the extra yardage when he decides to scramble. Stands in the pocket and makes the tough throw even with the defense bearing down on him. Only concern is that his disregard for his body too often leads to injuries that keep him off of the field.
In my opinion, Locker has the most potential of any quarterback in the 2011 draft class. He was considered a potential first-overall selection in the 2010 NFL Draft, but opted to come back and play out his senior year. Although 2011 was somewhat disappointing, Locker still has plenty to prove to the NFL as long as he can stay healthy and continue to polish his game.
2010: Started 12 of 13 games, missed 1 due to rib injury; 184 of 332 (55.4%) for 2,265 yards, 17 TD, 9 INT, 124.2 passer rating; 114 rush attempts for 385 yards, 6 TD
2009: Started 12 of 12 games; 230 of 395 (58.2%) for 2,800 yards, 21 TD, 11 INT, 129.75 passer rating; 112 rush attempts for 388 yards, 7 TD
2008: Started first 4 games of the season before season-ending thumb injury; 50 of 93 (53.8%) for 512 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 103.55 passer rating; 56 rush attempts for 180 yards, 3 TD
2007: Started 12 of 13 games, missed 1 due to concussion; 155 of 328 (47.3%) for 2,062 yards, 14 TD, 15 INT, 105 passer rating; 172 rush attempts for 986 yards, 13 TD
Majored in history at UW. Was an Academic All-PAC 10 honorable mention in 2007.
Awards & Honors
2010: All-PAC 10 Honorable Mention; UW Guy Flaherty Most Inspirational Award
2009: All-American Honorable Mention by Pro Football Weekly; All-PAC 10 Honorable Mention; Semi-finalist for Davey O’Brien Quarterback Award; UW Guy Flaherty Most Inspirational Award
2007: All-PAC 10 Honorable Mention; Pac-10 Freshman of the Year; Second-Team Freshman All-American by rivals.com; First-team Redshirt Freshman All-American by collegesportsreport.com; Sports Radio 950 KJR Player of the Year; UW Travis Spring Most Outstanding Freshman Award
Accomplished baseball player who has been drafted in the MLB Draft twice, including signing a 6-year rights agreement with the L.A. Angels. Also saw playing time at safety during high school. Considers the MLB his fallback plan.
Locker’s father and three uncles all played football for Western Washington University; His uncle, Pat Locker, was named WWU player of the century; His cousin, Casey Locker, plays safety for Washington State.
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