Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

14 Dec 2009

Jake Locker To Return To Washington For Senior Season

Although he may have been the first quarterback taken in next spring's draft, Jake Locker has announced that he will return to the University of Washington for his senior season.

While this will hurt him financially in the short term, it's almost guaranteed to be make him a better player long-term. The track record for underclassman quarterbacks is poor, and Locker is particularly raw, completing only 53.4 percent of his passes at Washington (although this year that number went up to 58.4 percent under Steve Sarkisian).

Posted by: Vince Verhei on 14 Dec 2009

69 comments, Last at 19 Dec 2009, 8:14pm by dryheat

Comments

1
by ParaPunk :: Mon, 12/14/2009 - 6:42pm

I wonder what Brohm would say.

14
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Mon, 12/14/2009 - 8:50pm

Brohm's "oh, he'll be a first round pick!" projection was before he had any workouts or Combine results. They do those things for a reason, and also don't forget that those projections are typically not coming from serious scouts. Coming back probably did hurt him, but his stock would've fallen a lot anyway.

The better counterexample would be a guy like Sam Bradford, and some of that risk can be mitigated with insurance policies.

35
by Temo :: Tue, 12/15/2009 - 11:33am

Those of us who watch Big East football (I know, there aren't many of us) knew Brohm wasn't going to be a good NFL QB. I don't know what the rest of the country saw in him, but the extra year just helped highlight all his flaws for the public-- flaws that I'd hope scouts would have noticed anyway.

Why the Packers wasted a 2nd round pick on him, I'll never know. Reports were that most teams didn't have a first-day draft grade on him.

46
by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 12/15/2009 - 2:55pm

"Do you want fries with that?"

50
by Bobman :: Tue, 12/15/2009 - 6:38pm

awesome

2
by DrewTS (not verified) :: Mon, 12/14/2009 - 6:43pm

Risky move, but it's risky whether you stay or go. He just better hope the rookie salary scale doesn't happen in the CBA negotiations. If it doesn't it'll probably turn out better for him long-term, as long as he doesn't go all Sam Bradford. And really, how often do football players get hurt? That's gotta be a million-to-one shot.

3
by lionsbob :: Mon, 12/14/2009 - 6:50pm

Another year with Sarkisian will only help Locker. Locker definitely has the natural talent to be a good QB...plus he already got 300K from the Angels.

4
by Will :: Mon, 12/14/2009 - 6:50pm

I think Locker would have been the second quarterback taken, behind Clausen. This surprises me, but I do believe he wants to have one successful season in college. I wouldn't do it, but more power to him.

Will

5
by Q (not verified) :: Mon, 12/14/2009 - 7:44pm

Very stupid decision. Passing up huge, guaranteed money while exposing yourself to injury and more time for scouts to dissect your game is not wise. Additionally, by the time he enters the league there could ptentially be a rookie cap. He could cost himself around $40 mil in a worst case scenario

6
by John (not verified) :: Mon, 12/14/2009 - 7:55pm

I wouldn't call it "very stupid" without knowing his motivation. If he's more concerned about being the best QB he can be and thinks he's well-positioned to get that guidance now, if he really wants to help his school, if he really wants to graduate (don't know anything about him, maybe he already has)...

Only from a purely "will I be fabulously wealthy" perspective is this stupid, and amazingly enough, not everyone is willing to sell out their dreams to be rich.

Hey, Peyton Manning graduated in 3 years and still returned to school and risked injury. He didn't face the risk of a rookie salary cap, granted, but sure seems like that decision worked out well for him.

Hero for life in Tennessee, hero for life in Indiana. Not a bad choice.

7
by lionsbob :: Mon, 12/14/2009 - 7:59pm

Most players would rather get that more lucrative 2nd contract anyway. And it isn't like scouts could not tear into Locker from December to April anyway. And I think this is the 3rd straight draft year that I heard of the looming Rookie cap.

9
by TheMontlakeCut (not verified) :: Mon, 12/14/2009 - 8:14pm

Q,

Bad decision? Only from the perspective that football is about getting paid more than it is playing the game. I have the pleasure of living in Seattle, and from everything I’ve heard Mr. Locker cares more about Football than he does money.

The kid needs another year. It’s more obvious if you watch his games. Sure he has a TON of talent but he has very few polished Pro skills. I bet Jake wants to be more of a McNabb than he does a JaMarcus.

That’s the kind of guy I want on my team. One who plays for the game ala Peyton. Not one who plays for the Bank…

MontlakeCutter

19
by MC2 :: Mon, 12/14/2009 - 10:22pm

Don't delude yourself. They all play "for the Bank", as you put it. Otherwise, you would see star players agreeing to take the league minimum (which is still a huge sum of money) so that the team would have enough cap room to bring in more great players. When have you ever seen this happen? And does Peyton spend all his free time shooting commercials for the love of the game?

64
by Scotty (not verified) :: Thu, 12/17/2009 - 2:49am

Players only all "play for the bank" if what you mean is that we all "work for the ($)bank". It is natural (for many reasons) to maximize your income. Fans get deluded by the dollar amounts in pro sports but you have to remember they are all dividing up the same money. Billionaires (owners) paying millionaires (players), its the same power structure that occurs with all of us. And your question of whether players give up some of their salary to make the team better, it does happen. I believe Peyton did it(?) and occasionally one hears about contracts being redrawn. Walter Jones did it to try and keep Hutchinson before the full extent of the "poison pill" was realized. If your boss came to you and asked you to take a 10% pay cut in order to hire another employee that would maximize the companies profits and potentially allow you to earn more, I'm sure you wouldn't jump at it, no questions asked? Golly gee boss, sure! If it's good for the company! With all the attention and facts (opinions) floating around in regards to pro sports, fans forget who they are judging. The answer is ourselves. Always holding others to a higher standard then we hold for our self. A friend once made the comment: "If I had the talent of (insert player here) I wouldn't go out drinkin' the night before the big game. I would take full advantage of that talent." to which I said, "You're drunk now! and its 11 in the morning!".
Anyhoo, in regards to Locker, it is a smart move professionally and financially. Much better chance of a long term career, which greatly expands (regardless of rookie salary cap) the chance of a "grandsons never work" contract, which only exist during a players 2nd contract

66
by MC2 :: Thu, 12/17/2009 - 6:52am

When did I judge anyone, or hold them to any sort of high standard? I simply pointed out that all professional athletes are motivated largely (if not totally) by money. In fact, if I were in their position, I'm sure I would do the same thing.

Some people seem to feel that there's something inherently evil about making lots of money, but I'm not one of those people, and that's certainly not what I was trying to say. I was just responding to the silly claim that some players just play "for the love of the game", with no concern for maximizing their income.

The fact is that if they started paying ditch diggers twice as much as football players, 99% of the people in this country (including NFL players) would grab a shovel. But I never said that was a bad thing.

37
by dryheat :: Tue, 12/15/2009 - 11:43am

Well, I think Peyton returned so he wouldn't be drafted by Parcells...not for any overriding love of the college game.

Similarly, I don't think Locker wants to risk being drafted by Mangini

38
by Frank (not verified) :: Tue, 12/15/2009 - 12:01pm

Parcells didn't have the number one pick in '97 -- St. Louis did and took Orlando Pace...now, that is a great what-if....if Manning comes out, does St. Louis take him? What happens to Warner? Does St. Louis win the Super Bowl with Manning? Does Martz ruin Manning? That would leave Leaf to the Colts and the subsequent disaster of the Ryan Leaf era....no Colts-Pats rivalry....Pats win another Super Bowl in 2006?

40
by dryheat :: Tue, 12/15/2009 - 1:04pm

Parcells did have the #1 pick in 1997 by virtue of going 1-15 the year before. After Peyton decided to stay in school (after a famous phone conversation with Drew Bledsoe about playing for Parcells), Parcells traded the #1 pick to St. Louis.

62
by The Ninjalectual :: Wed, 12/16/2009 - 12:58pm

Agreed... I was justlooking at the 1997 Draft and there are a ton of interesting "what ifs" if Petyon entered the NFL that year...

"Just look at that pumpkin."
-John Madden, looking at the moon.

18
by Joe :: Mon, 12/14/2009 - 10:21pm

Agree, very stupid decision. Seems like we have this discussion every year anymore, and it's almost always a dumb thing to go back to college if you are projected as a top pick. You are set for life financially even if you never play a down, and you can always go back to college.

54
by Subrata Sircar :: Tue, 12/15/2009 - 7:20pm

While that's true, it's very different being a 21-year-old college student for the first time, in the peak of your health/college-career, with all of your friends and peer groups sharing that experience, and being a (say) 27-year-old college student with bad knees who's washed out of the only thing he ever wanted to be when he grew up, without any friends or peers.

He's risking an unknown amount of money for (among other things) some intangible factors. Since you can't weight the intangible factors on the same scale - come to think of it, no one can weigh them except him, since they don't mean the same things to other people - there's really no way to characterize the decision as stupid without dismissing those factors entirely.

8
by Q (not verified) :: Mon, 12/14/2009 - 8:14pm

-The only rationale that truly makes sense to me is if he loves being the Big Man on Campus so much that he wants to milk it for all it is worth.

-I guess in theory someone could be so passionately in love with his school and what it stands for that bringing it glory is the most important thing to him but I would be surprised if he felt this deeply towards his school.

-If he wants to develop into the best QB possible then I suspect that he should be in the Pros. I would assume that overall the better QB Coaches are in the NFL judging by economics as well as the fact that college QBs are trained in their coaches own systems for the most part and not in how to best succeed at the next level (which is why Many Qbs have to be taught simple mechanical things when they reach the NFL)

-The whole "getting the degree" argument has always been baffling. If you plan on becoming a pro athlete, what value is that generic Communications Degree going to possess? Even after they graduate, if they plan on pursuing that career after they retire it is likely an employer might be concerned about their being 35 or so with no applicable experience vs younger,cheaper alternatives who have experience. They also can always take summer courses/correspondence courses/etc to finish off the degree if they desire.

10
by TheMontlakeCut (not verified) :: Mon, 12/14/2009 - 8:23pm

You are on the wrong side of football my friend.

11
by John (not verified) :: Mon, 12/14/2009 - 8:26pm

I really don't think throwing an unsound quarterback to the wolves (which has happened to any number of recent 1st round picks) is the best way to develop him into being the best QB possible.

At any rate, the point is this: you passed judgment on the kid based on your interpretation of what he should do, based on your value system.

I'm inclined to think that college players get more bad advice encouraging them to jump ship early, so I'm inclined to congratulate him on resisting the lure of the instant gratification of big money tomorrow.

21
by Joe :: Mon, 12/14/2009 - 10:25pm

You make it sound like the money is bad. There is almost nothing he can do next year in college which will increase his earnings potential, and opportunities to get paid like a top NFL draft pick are rare. He should take advantage while he still can.

Going back to college is an awful financial decision, and there is no evidence to suggest that it's going to make him a better QB.

42
by Dennis :: Tue, 12/15/2009 - 1:44pm

According to the Lewin projection system, one of the big indicators of NFL success is the number of college starts. So getting another 12 would help his chances of succeding in the NFL, if you believe the system has merit.

43
by greybeard :: Tue, 12/15/2009 - 2:11pm

Lewin projection system has not been able to project anything correctly yet. So don't put too much stock in it.

45
by Joe :: Tue, 12/15/2009 - 2:39pm

According to the Lewin projection system, one of the big indicators of NFL success is the number of college starts. So getting another 12 would help his chances of succeding in the NFL, if you believe the system has merit.

No, this is not what Lewin found. What he found was that QBs taken in the first round were more successful when they had more college starts. Do not confuse this to mean that there is correlation between having more college starts and then having NFL success.

The point Lewin made is that with more college starts, scouts will get to see the QB more and identify parts of his game that are good and bad, how correctable his game is, growth potential, etc. The idea being that if a QB has a lot of exposure and still gets a first round grade from scouts, he'll have lower risk of failure because his game has been thoroughly examined. Just getting the starts won't make him better.

And this is sort of the point that Locker will almost certainly hurt this earnings potential by staying in school. He runs the risk of getting exposed the more that scouts see him play, dropping his draft position and lowering his signing bonus. There may be other reasons behind his decision, but financially this is a colossal mistake.

31
by Big Paul (not verified) :: Tue, 12/15/2009 - 8:41am

If he feels that his best chance to be a successful pro quarterback is to return to college then he absolutely should do that.

While the better QB coaches are almost certainly in the NFL, few high first-round draft picks are allowed the time to develop at a reasonable learning curve due the huge money they get paid. While there are guys like Philip Rivers around, they are most definitely outliers and Locker couldn't reasonably assume he would get that time to develop.

There's upside and downside to either decision he could made. While he's leaving himself open to the chance of becoming a Brohm, going early probably increases his chances of becoming a JaMarcus or any other number of talented quarterbacks who came out early and bombed.

Most of all, Jake himself is much better placed than we are to judge what he should be doing with his career and, while it may well be a stupid decision, you or I are in no position to decide whether it is at this moment in time.

32
by greybeard :: Tue, 12/15/2009 - 9:27am

" I would assume that overall the better QB Coaches are in the NFL judging by economics as well as the fact that college QBs are trained in their coaches own systems for the most part and not in how to best succeed at the next level (which is why Many Qbs have to be taught simple mechanical things when they reach the NFL)"
His coach is Sarkasian, the guy who coached Palmer and Leinart and Cassel. At NFL he does not know who his coach will be. This is not a theoretical discussion about if the players should leave early or not. It is about Locker, we know who his current coach is.

Also, he is assumed to be a first rounder and not first overall. He would not get 40 millions if he is not the number 1 pick. If he is selected in 20s, he would get probably 5 million guaranteed. However if he stays one more year and becomes a better QB, and is selected in top 10, he probably goes from 5 to 20 million guaranteed. There are no guarantees that he will be a first rounder this year as there are no guarantees to that he will be selected at better spot next year.

And for the rookie cap, that would only affect the first 10 guys. He is not expected to go there. Actually I think if there is a rookie cap there will still be a rookie pool and the lower picks will get better money next year.

12
by ChrisH :: Mon, 12/14/2009 - 8:40pm

I've watched Locker play a few times now (as an Oregon State fan), and given the style that he plays, and his tendency to get injured, I just don't understand this at all. The mock draft that went up today from Scouts Inc. has him at #1 overall, and even if he falls down 10 spots from there, he's still set for life. Yes, he'd love to win at UW, and he loves college life, and he has $300k from his baseball contract, but given the recent history of Sam Bradford, and the risk of a salary cap for rookies in another year, I just don't understand this. I'm fine with OSU having to play him again (he's good, but not good enough to make up for the rest of the team), but I just think it's in his best interest to go pro at this point and not risk something.

13
by drobviousso :: Mon, 12/14/2009 - 8:48pm

How much risk is there if:
1)He has a reasonable insurance policy.
2)He thinks that getting drafted by a top 10 team means he'll be thrust into a starting job before he's ready.

If I was a young, talented, and unpolished QB, I'd be praying to fall to the middle or second half of the first round and get picked up by a team that's not institutionally dysfunctional.

15
by alexbond :: Mon, 12/14/2009 - 9:08pm

I graduated from UW last year and Jake is a friend of a friend of mine, I've had several conversations with him. I have also seen nearly every snap he's taken. Physically, he is unbelievable, but he is no where near ready to play the quarterback position. There are three problem areas - his mechanics, pocket presence, and his ability to mentally do everything. His mechanics are prone to break down ala McNabb, and you see some wildly errant passes from him. He loves to overthrow. He has no pocket presence, he runs into sacks, and under pressure he looks at rushers instead of keeping his eyes downfield. For every 30 yards highlight reel run, you have a sack where a guy gets close to him, and Jake lowers the ball, turns his hips facing the LoS, briefly considers throwing for a second until he decides he can run for it, and gets three steps before he's brought down for a loss of 1. It isn't pretty. Combine these two characteristics, and screen passes are adventurous - the defenders come in off the O-line chips, Jake gets antsy, and the ball can go anywhere. He also doesn't show the ability to learn an NFL playbook. Most of his plays now have only two real throwing options. And while "football IQ" and real IQ are certainly different, he isn't the brightest crayon in the box.

Suffice to say he is far from ready. He shouldn't be a 1st round prospect, and only is because it is a weak QB class. In fact, I would argue that much of his statistical improvement over his career is not due to improvements in his game, but in his supporting cast, especially the WRs, who went from "more drops than Braylon" to "acceptable" this past year.

He has an unreal arm, he can make every throw, he can run like a RB, and he had a bad set of WRs and a worse O-line. But that 53% career completion tells you a lot about his game.

20
by MC2 :: Mon, 12/14/2009 - 10:23pm

All these flaws in his game are good reasons why he should come out now, before he has a chance to get further exposed. In other words, sell high.

65
by Scotty (not verified) :: Thu, 12/17/2009 - 3:06am

Barring a career threatening injury, which statistically is very, very low, he will be handsomely rewarded in the future. He has way too many athletic skills to be overlooked in the 2010 draft. The difference between Top 5 money and 2nd round money is quarters compared to 2nd contract money. As i said above, a player makes "grandson never works money" in their 2nd contract. Which only comes with high performance during your early years. By staying in school he is risking a bit, with a huge upside.

67
by MC2 :: Thu, 12/17/2009 - 7:00am

Yeah, but my point is that if he has as many flaws as a lot of people seem to believe, he'll never become good enough to get that 2nd contract. I personally haven't seen enough of him to make a judgment one way or the other, but from a lot of the things I've heard about him, he seems to fit the profile of a huge bust. So, if you're only going to get one contract, you better make damn sure you get as much as possible.

24
by Still Alive (not verified) :: Mon, 12/14/2009 - 11:40pm

With friends of a friend like you who needs enemies?

I kid I kid.

25
by Dan :: Tue, 12/15/2009 - 12:28am

The people who we need to hear from are his enemies' enemies.

16
by Athletics Supporter (not verified) :: Mon, 12/14/2009 - 10:07pm

The track record for underclassman quarterbacks is poor...

I've seen this written quite a few times over the past few months, but haven't seen any good analysis on whether this piece of new conventional wisdom is actually correct. Any takers?

Combining a couple of sources, here's what I get...

Underclassmen QB's drafted in the 1st round, 1990-2008: Ware, George, Marinovich, Maddox, Bledsoe, Dilfer, Shuler, Leaf, Couch, Vick, Grossman, Roethlisberger, Smith, Young, Russell

Senior QB's drafted in the 1st round, 1990-2008: McGwire, Klingler, Mirer, McNair, Collins, Druckenmiller, Manning, McNabb, Smith, Culpepper, McNown, Pennington, Carr, Palmer, Leftwich, Boller, Manning, Rivers, Leinart, Cutler, Ryan, Flacco

22
by Vince Verhei :: Mon, 12/14/2009 - 10:42pm

Hugh Millen (former quarterback at UW and for the Rams/Falcons/Patriots/Broncos) put together this chart comparing junior quarterbacks who were top-15 draft picks. It's pretty ugly -- there's Roethlisberger and Bledsoe, and Jeff George managed to stick around the league for a long time, and then not a lot of careers you'd expect from a first-round pick. (Although now that I look at it, Michael Vick is not on that list, so maybe this is not complete.)

33
by dbostedo :: Tue, 12/15/2009 - 9:56am

Vick only played 2 years of college ball. He came into the draft after his redshirt sophomore season.

48
by Athletics Supporter (not verified) :: Tue, 12/15/2009 - 3:37pm

So that chart credits 4 "success rate points" from 14 underclassmen QB's. Not sure how he defined "success", but I guess I can take a whack at it.

In the QB's drafted as seniors that I listed above, I come up with 13 points for 22 QB's. So that is quite a bit better than the underclassmen rate. Interestingly, they were both about equally as bad early on (1990-1997), but over the past 12 years, the senior QB's have done substantially better.

Of course we're still talking about small sample sizes, but there you go.

17
by Jmagik (not verified) :: Mon, 12/14/2009 - 10:09pm

It's incredible that people can write something like "hero for life in [college]" with a straight face in this context after the Bradford debacle. I know the guy wants to get better, but ... I believe it was the late Sean Taylor who said, "we play a kid's game, but for a king's ransom." Contrast Hines Ward talking about how Ben shouldn't have sat out a GAME since it was an important GAME and you don't get those GAMES back. Football is a game. It's a @!(#@*)ing game. It's not just "real" injuries, it's wear and tear to your body that can really add up (see the UNC study on the cumulative effects of NON-concussion mild head trauma). How long is this guy going to live? 50, 60 more years? Take the money and go have fun in the NFL. If you want to take the mature route, then sit on the bench for a year and don't complain (Cf. Carson Palmer), let your skills develop. Finish your degree later (Cf. Emmitt Smith). Don't take more punishment or risk the chance to set up yourself and your family for life so you can get a few more blow jobs from cheerleaders and sub-Tebow fan love. Captcha: "63 Selfless"

61
by incidental (not verified) :: Wed, 12/16/2009 - 10:58am

If NFL life expectancy figures are any guide, he's got more like 30-35 years left to live.

23
by mytm.gt.yourtm (not verified) :: Mon, 12/14/2009 - 11:05pm

Am I the only person who wonders why pro teams would draft Locker in the first round? I've seen him play a lot, and he's incredibly raw. Skill-wise he's Ryan Leaf right now at best. Why would a team throw big money at a guy who is a serious risk of washing out? He's big and strong, but so are Tebow and Russell.

I thought at the time that Bradford made a mistake coming back, but I think Locker is making the right decision. By the time the draft rolled around I think you would have seen Locker's stock fall.

49
by Pat F. :: Tue, 12/15/2009 - 4:08pm

^^^This.

I'm guessing Locker thinks, probably correctly, that his draft stock will slide as scouts study him more closely in the coming months. Being #1 on some mock drafts in December != being #1 in the draft come April. Just ask "vroom".

The guy's got great physical ability, but considering the number of notable QB prospects coming out this year (Bradford, Clausen, McCoy, Snead(?), Tebow) there's just no way he stands out to the point that he's a surefire top-5 pick. There's actually a very good chance he's a 2nd or 3rd rounder in 2010, good enough that going back to school to improve his skills, risks and all, is probably the correct financial decision.

26
by Husky Fan (not verified) :: Tue, 12/15/2009 - 12:51am

One thing you need to know about Jake Locker is that he plays because the loves the game. He also has something people seem to be lacking now a days "CHARACTER" I live in Seattle and watched almost every play he has been involved in and he is just a truly amazing athlete. Post #15 claims to be a friend of Jakes and I dont believe him, with friends like that who needs enemies.

People need to remember the Huskies have been lacking in the talent department the last 3 years and Jake has been running for his life because of no running game, no Offensive linemen and their defense was one of the worst in the nation. When everyone can key on one person (Jake) he had to tuck the ball and run and throw on the run with no blocking what so ever........when that happens you are going to over throw have some bad choices when trying to make things happen. This year he had a young running back who rushed for 1000 yards, had receivers who are on the major improve and he was having fun again even though they had a overall losing season. The Huskies are returning a ton of starters from last year and he gets the chance to have fun again and he is honestly not the type of kid where money dictates his life. He is a church going, morally strong physically gifted student athlete who cares about his school and team more then trying to score the last buck. I think it's refreshing for a change.

He has money in his future for sure but he isn't your normal money grubbing person. His future will be bright either in football or baseball. By the way, Jake has donated much of his time to a couple of dying kids who were fans of his, and is not the guy who will make the police blotters......isn't that nice to see for a change? By the way, the scouts are right about him. He would blow every other QB out of the water at the combine if he would of attended.

39
by Flounder :: Tue, 12/15/2009 - 12:34pm

You do NOT, i repeat, NOT know that "he plays because he loves the game."

You just don't.

"I have watched him play a lot and I know what is inside his heart" is simply not a compelling argument.

None of us know who these people really are. I mean, you'd think we would have all learned that by now (see Tiger Woods and about a million other previous examples) but apparently not.

59
by MurphyZero :: Wed, 12/16/2009 - 1:51am

Post #15 didn't claim to be his friend, just a friend of a friend who had had a conversation or two with Jake.
As far as his ability, being east coast, I barely see highlights of his, let alone games, so I'm not going to comment at all about whether it is a smart decision or not.

27
by Jmagik (not verified) :: Tue, 12/15/2009 - 1:33am

School. Rah-rah. That's fine. I just hope he doesn't mind selling insurance or used cars instead of writing the great American novel or whatever else it is NFL 1st round picks do when they get to retire multi-millionaires at age 30. Or, you can be like Mike McCrary and play those 2 or 3 extra years and destroy your ability to live without crushing pain. Or end up like Warner, with "fog on top of his eyes." Sometimes talking about the "old guys" like Warner we forget that everyone in the NFL (except maybe Galloway~) is still a young man.

I saw a talk with Joe Montana once. Half the time he spoke was devoted to his daily routines of icing all his joints, taking pills, and stretching to avoid "locking up." And Montana was not a guy known for taking extraordinary punishment. All I'm saying -- all I'm saying -- is that, while I love it, football is close to a bloodsport for the people who play, and sometimes it's good to step back and remind yourself that, college or pro, it's a game. And even setting aside philosophical debates about what matters in life and what doesn't, put it this way: it's 10, 15 years of your life and you can pay a very steep price in exchange for those millions. Locker goes to church and is a nice guy, that's great I guess. Just don't see how it has anything to do with the topic of taking several million dollars in exchange for one less year of wear and tear and college football glory.

Remember Jake, another 4-9 season or a torn rotator cuff and all that "glory" (besides the under-the-bleachers kind) might lose its luster.

28
by Bobman :: Tue, 12/15/2009 - 2:09am

I love seeing the Husky fans getting vocal here. A year ago I saw Locker as a better RB than QB and wished they'd put in Ronnie Fouch (who stepped in for him one game and threw a couple late TDs). What a backfield, I thought. Sark has taken a pile of really promising clay and made it look kind of like a QB, but as most purple folks here commented, he's not NFL ready. Another year, even if the team only wins 8 or so, should improve his mechanics, decision making, vision, etc. Wait till he benches 25 reps at the combine--oxlike strength will become the new "speed" that week. This guy looks like a MLB.

He's already had a potentially horrific injury, folks. I think once you are sent to the hospital on the road strapped to a back board, and return to the sideline about an hour later (!) to cheer your team on for the second half, you have first-hand knowledge that it can all go bye-bye on one play (more than your NFL career, but your ability to walk, have sex, and go to the bathroom without an assistant--nice that he was not paralyzed), but you love the game enough to get back with yor team even if you can't remember your name. He has the potential to be a Ben R type player who has Steve Young wheels.

I am thrilled he's returning; he needs more work, and we need a good year in Montlake.

I also thought Leinart was making a very good move in returning a few years back. Turns out, it WAS the right move, but for different reasons. Not to improve his game, but to have one last shot at BMOC glory, because NFL glory is a pretty long shot for him about now.

29
by Birdman (not verified) :: Tue, 12/15/2009 - 5:32am

I wanted Locker to come out this year, purely for selfish reasons. I'm a Vikings fan and they need a new quarterback but will drafted near the bottom of the first round. The more good quarterbacks in the draft, the better the likelihood that one will be available for Minnesota. I wouldn't want the Vikings to draft Locker or Tebow, but if a QB-needy team ahead of Minnesota did, then maybe Bradford falls.

30
by Xeynon (not verified) :: Tue, 12/15/2009 - 8:30am

I'm not really a college football fan, so I've seen nothing of Locker save a few highlights and can't really comment on his readiness for the NFL. That being said, why does anybody feel compelled to pass judgment on his decision? If he enjoys the life of a college player, wants to finish his degree, thinks he'll become a better quarterback with a better year of seasoning, etc., that's his decision to make. Assuming that his only goal is to maximize his earnings and criticizing him for a decision that might not be conducive to doing so is just incredibly obnoxious and judgmental.

47
by ChrisH :: Tue, 12/15/2009 - 3:32pm

Because we don't like seeing someone who now has exactly what he's been working towards (making the NFL, and being set for life financially) in front of him screw up and possibly piss that away. I can totally understand loving college, as I did, but if someone had come to me before my senior year and said "I'm going to give you your dream job, and you'll be set for life financially, even if you don't work out when you're 28, but you have to leave now", I can't see turning that down. There are so many things that can go wrong over the near year:

- His offensive line is bad next year, and so he looks bad
- He has new WR's that he doesn't work with as well as his previous WR's, so he looks bad
- He just looks bad
- Catastrophic injury
- Stronger QB crop in draft next year
- No teams at the top of the draft that want/need a QB
- Rookie salary cap

Perhaps he'll improve, but perhaps he'll be exposed. Look at someone like Quentin Moses, who was thought to be a sure Top 15 pick had he left Georgia early, but he came back, had an awful senior year, and fell to the Third Round, losing a fortune, and making it far easier for the Raiders to just cut him loose early. This can easily happen, and an insurance policy won't cover you if you just get exposed for not being as good as people thought.

When Peyton Manning came back, the bonus money wasn't as absolutely absurd at the top of the draft, and he had serious thoughts of a Heisman and National Title. Locker might be able to have an outside run at the Heisman, but UW isn't winning the Pac 10 with OSU, UO, and USC returning most of their players, and having to play most of their hard games on the road this year. I just don't think anyone wants to see him make a potentially $30 million gamble to stay in college for another year and get beat up for free.

57
by Xeynon (not verified) :: Tue, 12/15/2009 - 11:26pm

Because we don't like seeing someone who now has exactly what he's been working towards (making the NFL, and being set for life financially) in front of him screw up and possibly piss that away.

But why do you care? Unless you're a friend or family member of Locker, I really don't see how it has any bearing on you.

I can totally understand loving college, as I did, but if someone had come to me before my senior year and said "I'm going to give you your dream job, and you'll be set for life financially, even if you don't work out when you're 28, but you have to leave now", I can't see turning that down.

YOU can't, and maybe a lot of other people can't either, but obviously Locker can, and that's his decision.

Perhaps he'll improve, but perhaps he'll be exposed.

And perhaps if he goes pro this year, he'll be drafted by a horrible, dysfunctional team with no offensive line or decent skill players to play with him and suspect coaches to work with him (Cleveland, Oakland, or the like) and his career will spiral directly into the toilet. There are no guarantees, one way or the other, and even a poor senior season isn't likely to drop him more than a round or so at most (and even if he does come out, there's no guarantee he gets picked high just because that's what the mock drafts say - see Rodgers, Aaron). And all of this assumes that money is the thing he's most concerned with - which, obviously, it's not.

Just let the guy alone.

34
by Harris :: Tue, 12/15/2009 - 10:57am

And Jimmy Clausen does a naked happy dance through his living room.

Hail Hydra!

36
by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 12/15/2009 - 11:38am

I guess I need to change my "St. Loooooouis . . . draft Jake Locker!" chant to "St. Loooooouis . . . draft Jimmy Clausen!" instead.

51
by Bobman :: Tue, 12/15/2009 - 6:43pm

Probably easier to come up with rhymes for Locker.... A good fan chant. That's how I develop my draft board and explains why Nnamdi Asomugha went undrafted on my board that year.

41
by Kal :: Tue, 12/15/2009 - 1:22pm

What would the Lewin forecast say about Locker now if he did come out this year? My guess is that the poor completion rate would hurt him quite a bit.

44
by greybeard :: Tue, 12/15/2009 - 2:13pm

partly cloudy, with a chance of showers.

52
by Bobman :: Tue, 12/15/2009 - 6:46pm

Better than the past two weeks' bitter-ass cold. Cloudy/showers--hell, that's the default for eight months in Seattle. I understand that years ago a local newspaper weather-man died one February and nobody discovered it until June.

53
by Mr Shush :: Tue, 12/15/2009 - 6:52pm

Bradford, from what I've seen, is the most gifted pocket passer who is or could be in this year's class. He reminds me of Drew Brees, but with better size and arm strength. Trouble is, there's far too little film on him to really be certain about him, he's probably not going to be able to work out before the draft, and he may well have some issues with pocket presence/awareness (as Brees did), which may get him killed or wrecked if he's asked to start early on a bad team. I might still take him first overall if it was me, but God knows it would be a major risk, and I know nobody else is quite as high on him as me.

Clausen is the least likely of any quarterback in this draft to be a total bust, and probably the most NFL-ready, and I think there's a fair chance he'll be pretty good. The chance he'll be truly great, though, strikes me as very low indeed. Still, certainly worth a first round pick.

Tebow is conceivably worth a first round pick only if you plan to build your offense completely around him along the lines of an option, wildcat or similar run-first base. Trying to use him as a quarterback in a conventional offense would be a waste of his talents, whatever pick you spent on him, and however many seasons you spent finding out that he was not in fact an NFL quarterback. If you want to use him as some sort of Josh Cribbs/CST800-101 hybrid, he might be worth as much as a low second.

No team in its right mind would have drafted Locker in the first round this year. So he would probably have ended up rich, and playing for the Raiders. By returning to school, he's merely ensuring that he can be drafted in a year when the Raiders don't have a first. How anyone can construe this as other than a smart move is beyond me.

55
by Q (not verified) :: Tue, 12/15/2009 - 8:16pm

"No team in its right mind would have drafted Locker in the first round this year."

Yeah most mock drafts are developed at random by throwing darts and not based upon conversations with GMs, scouts, etc. This is not even considering the hype that he would generate at the combine with his freakish athletic abilities. A QB who is projected highly who would blow away all competitors at the Combine is likely a Top 5 pick at worst

I do not even see how his stock could slide much. With his limited experience I would suspect alot of his body of work has been watched to death already so there would be little reason to drop in that regard and outside of his bowl game he could decide to not play in any of the post bowl all star games

56
by alexbond :: Tue, 12/15/2009 - 8:48pm

His bowl game? Perhaps you haven't been watching the Huskies much lately...

And let's be realistic - plenty of mock drafts are based on little better than throwing darts at a board. People hear Jake's name as a potential Heisman candidate (in some crazy alternate universe, he wasn't even the best QB in the PAC-10) and for occasional high-profile performances like the USC upset, where he put together a fantastic drive at the end of the game and nobody mentions it was the only real drive he had all game, or his dismantling of Cal in the last game of the season, and they they don't watch the games we lose because of his hair-tearingly frustrating sacks, and they figure he must be worth the hype. Aside from the network guys, very few mock drafters will watch much of middling schools like UW, and they won't see the hype for what it is - hype. It takes more than freakish athleticism and a warrior's spirit and dedication to be an effective NFL QB. No team in its right mind would have drafted Locker in the first round this year.

58
by Q (not verified) :: Wed, 12/16/2009 - 12:36am

"It takes more than freakish athleticism and a warrior's spirit and dedication to be an effective NFL QB. No team in its right mind would have drafted Locker in the first round this year."

Yes it takes more than that to be an effective NFL QB but it does not take more than that to be drafted extremely high
as seen with (Akili Smith, Leaf, Vick, Young, Russell, etc) and that isn't even counting later 1st round picks who were praised for their athetic potential (Boller, Druckenmiller, etc)

Almost every athletic freak QB who was projected as a starting qb in the NFL has gone extremely high in the 1st round over the last decade

60
by Mr Shush :: Wed, 12/16/2009 - 10:02am

Do you not think though that maybe, just maybe, NFL GMs are starting to learn their lesson on that front? The only player on your list who is not definitely a bust is Vince Young, who is far from proven at this point and who was a far more polished and accurate passer when he came out than Locker is now. I fully agree that Al Davis or someone similarly cretinous could conceivably make Locker a top ten 2010 draft pick. That's why I said "no team in its right mind". With the long overdue demise of Millen, I'm not sure there is another team out there that badly run, but I could be wrong. If you were Locker, would you really want to get paid a load of money to play for that sort of monumentally dysfunctional outfit? I imagine that for a guy who really loves the game, playing for the Raiders would be a good way to be rich and miserable.

63
by Jeff M. (not verified) :: Wed, 12/16/2009 - 1:54pm

Yes, I'm sure Mr Shush/alexbond has a better handle on what NFL GMs will do than guys like McShay and Kiper, who (after actually talking to those GMs) were saying Locker had a good chance at going #1 overall. After all, have you ever seen one of them use the word "cretinous"...? Enough said.

68
by greybeard :: Fri, 12/18/2009 - 2:22pm

We don't even know who picks number 1. The bowl games have not been played. And he will not even play a bowl game.
He had no chance of going number 1 even before and he definitely will not be after bowl games. Just beating a bad USC does not make a QB number 1 pick.
Look at Kiper's mock draft http://nfl.fanhouse.com/2009/04/28/2010-nfl-draft-sam-bradford-first-in-.... Locker is not even in the first round.
Aaron Rodgers was number 1 on many mock drafts. Kiper had Mike Williams and then later Ronnie Brown as number one on his mock drafts in 2005 a few weeks before the draft.

69
by dryheat :: Sat, 12/19/2009 - 8:14pm

Well, apparently the advisory committee differs. Courtesy of ProFootballtalk.com:

Despite a proclamation by ESPN's Todd McShay that Locker would/should/could be the first overall pick, a league source tells us that Locker didn't receive a first-round grade from the Advisory Committee.

The source concedes that Locker might have still be drafted in round one given the value of the position, but the source insists that McShay was flat wrong in his assessment of Locker.

"That's the problem," the source opined. "McShay is clueless. Up until three weeks before the 2008 draft, he said that [Kentucky's] Andre Woodson would be a first-round pick. He went in the sixth and is out of the league."

And the source explained that these opinions come not from the same-old rant by NFL scouts that guys like McShay and Mel Kiper have the luxury of popping off with no accountability as long as it all sounds good (the same-old rant has a significant amount of accuracy, by the way), but from concerns that guys like McShay do kids a disservice by pumping up their expectations.

Fact is, if McShay was any good at his job, he'd be working for an NFL team.