Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

25 Apr 2011


In Michael Silver's piece on "rogue scout" Dave Razzano for Yahoo! Sports, Razzano compared Washington quarterback Jake Locker to Brett Favre:

"Favre went in the second round, right? If you look at their college stats, Favre and Locker are practically identical. Now look at this play: Tell me this guy doesn’t move like Favre, scramble like Favre, throw like Favre. Pretend he has the number four on his jersey. His release is a lot like Favre, too."

Matt Terl of the Official Redskins blog looked up Favre's and Locker's NCAA statistics, and found they are, in fact, nearly identical:

Brett Favre vs. Jake Locker, NCAA stats
Player GP Comp Att % Yds TD INT Y/A NCAA Rtg.
Favre 44 613 1169 52.4 7695 52 34 6.6 116.6
Locker 40 619 1147 53.9 7639 53 35 6.7 119.1

These numbers are not adjusted for conference/opposition/weather or the most important factor of all, historical era. But the results are still surprising and fascinating.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 25 Apr 2011

32 comments, Last at 10 Mar 2012, 4:33am by monsterbeats


by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 04/25/2011 - 6:42pm

We need to continue the similarities, somebody get Jake a cell phone and Jenn Sterger's number.

by rimshot (not verified) :: Mon, 04/25/2011 - 7:50pm

the guy already said that he had a release like favre, what more do you want to know/see?

by Bryan and Vinny Show (not verified) :: Mon, 04/25/2011 - 6:53pm

Somewhere John Madden just let out a guttural moan.

by Harris :: Mon, 04/25/2011 - 7:48pm

And Peter King just ruined one of his wife's good bath towels.

Hail Hydra!

by Drunkmonkey :: Mon, 04/25/2011 - 9:03pm

+1 to both of you. That's exactly what I was thinking.

Does Locker have Bus Cook as his agent? I remember when Cutler was supposed to be the next Brett Favre, and the reasoning was his agent was the same as Favre's.

by Bobman :: Wed, 04/27/2011 - 3:53am


by Dan :: Mon, 04/25/2011 - 6:58pm

Next we need some draft day photos of Locker that look like these.

by Drunkmonkey :: Mon, 04/25/2011 - 9:02pm

Not gonna lie, I was very scared of clicking on your link, as I didn't know if you were showing a picture of Favre from his Sterger case, or what. I don't think we'll get photos of Locker like that; he's much more likely to be playing something a bit more technologically advanced then whatever Favre is playing. Plus, I don't think the phone he's going to be receiving the call on saying he's getting drafted will have an antenna.

by SFC B (not verified) :: Mon, 04/25/2011 - 11:32pm

I have 0 doubt that, in 20 years, the fashion and technology in Jake Locker's draft day photo album will be just as out-of-date as the ones in Brett Favre's.

by Temo :: Tue, 04/26/2011 - 12:09pm

To be fair, Favre was from rural Mississippi, attended the local university, and this happened before the explosion in pre-draft prospect coverage. There's a certain amount of "country hick" in his attire here that you won't see in many big-name quarterbacks this day.

by bill (not verified) :: Mon, 04/25/2011 - 7:00pm

But does he play like a kid just having fun?

by Bobman :: Wed, 04/27/2011 - 4:01am

So far he has... of course he WAS a kid having fun.

The trick is to continue that perfect, golden, childlike existence on the big stage when millions and millions are on the line, the media savages (or fellates) you daily, and 300 lb genetic freaks are trying to kill you on a regular basis (as opposed to the 260 lb sides of beef in college).

Back on planet earth, Locker really seems to have his head screwed on pretty well. I'm a bit of a homer, but have seen nothing that would make me concerned about him as a person and a player. As a QB... well there are accuracy issues--though Sark really improved his game from soph to junior years. 2.5 seasons ago I was loudly pulling for him to be switched to RB (he was the best on the team at the time) and put his backup in at QB. My next concern is that his pro career follows the path of a similar gutsy stud warrior born-leader QB from UW, Marques Tuiasosopu, who managed one start in a career in Oakland, only to be injured. Sigh.

by dmstorm22 :: Mon, 04/25/2011 - 7:16pm

This comparison can go both ways. If Locker is the 1994-1998 Favre, then whomever drafts him is Gold. If he's the Favre that spectacularly bombed in the playoffs in 2001, 2003, 2004 and had many 20+ int seasons late in his career, then we might have problems. Either way, I don't think many people can play like Favre did and be successful the way Favre was.

by tuluse :: Mon, 04/25/2011 - 7:24pm

If you are drafting near the top of the draft, bombing in the playoffs would probably be a huge improvement.

by johonny (not verified) :: Tue, 04/26/2011 - 1:44pm

I agree. I miss the days when the Dolphins bombed in the playoffs rather than were done in week 12.

by JoeS (not verified) :: Mon, 04/25/2011 - 8:16pm

Jake Locker = Brett Favre
Jake Plummer = Joe Montana

by Marko :: Mon, 04/25/2011 - 10:47pm

Ryan Mallett = Ryan Leaf

by Temo :: Tue, 04/26/2011 - 12:10pm

Cam Newton=random black quarterback

by BaronFoobarstein :: Tue, 04/26/2011 - 3:31pm

Cam Newton is pretty similar to Eldridge Dickey.

by speedegg :: Tue, 04/26/2011 - 1:54am

You got to be kidding me. Jack Locker is the next Favre? I've seen a few of Locker's games (LSU and Nebraska) and color me unimpressed.

I read the Razzano piece and wonder what game is he looking at? No underneath routes for Locker to throw? That's Sarkisian's offense. He runs a version of USC's offense, which runs a version of the Shanahan offense, which is a zone blocking scheme, emphasis on the run, and a passing game that's predominately 3 and 5 step drops with play-action.

Did Sarkisian channel his inner Norm-Chow-from-BYU and go entirely to 5 and 7 steps? Or was Locker that inaccurate on short throws that Sarkisian didn't want any 3-step throws? I think Razzano lives down to his "rogue scout" hype.

by Bobman :: Wed, 04/27/2011 - 4:05am

Locker had a pretty good share of long passes the past two years, but he DID tend to come up small in the biggest games. Head-scratchingly poor. I think he had a couple games under 50 yards passing this year. It may be that in a couple years we all discover that his receivers were responsible for his decent jr/sr stats. Or maybe he's just going to keep improving.

by Anthony (not verified) :: Wed, 04/27/2011 - 6:35am

Yeah, I agree wholeheartedly about the supposed lack of completion-buffing passes. Take the USC game for instance. He had just come off an atrocious game against Nebraska that included going 4-20 for 71 yard, 1 TD and 2 INTs which were delivered so directly at the Nebraska cornerbacks one wondered whether he was colorblind. The gameplan was simple and had him throwing very easy, quick passes that would make Texas A&M's passing game proud. Now he also threw some very nice passes down the field to teammates who, lo and behold, bucked up against the scorn thrown their way (the way it sounds, Locker played with divison 3 talent but he didn't) and actually got open deep.

Locker's a very confusing player. Outside the pocket, with no one in front him obscuring his line of vision, it's uncanny how accurate he is. I've never seen a guy more accurate. 15, 25 yards down the field, it doesn't matter, when he's on the move, he places it right on the mark and not only that but spots it right where only his receiver can get it. On the flipside, his accuracy from the pocket is as spotty as you can get from a top QB prospect. Just consistently overthrew receivers even with no pressure on him. The talk that his bad offensive line led to his accuracy issues, well, he wasn't accurate even when he had protection and threw from the pocket. If anything, him having to bail and get outside the pocket helped his completion percentage.

That said, while his completion percentage dropped from 58 percent last season to 55 this year, I think from a game to game basis, he was slightly more accurate. He had 6 games this past season of 60 percent completion percentages compared to 4 in 2009. What really did his numbers in were two games against Nebraska in which he went 9/36 combined. Take those two games out and maybe I shouldn't do that and his completion percentage jumps to 59 percent, an improvement from the year before. Nebraska was such a dominant pass defense and so overmatched Washington's passing personnel that it might unfairly distort his overall performance.

by Anonymouse 2 (not verified) :: Wed, 04/27/2011 - 1:41pm

Yeah, the match with Nebraska could be telling. Nebraska has a pair of NFL-caliber corners and they play press-man coverage. The coaching staff would've drawn up a game plan to hit the TE's and HB's if they knew their WRs were overmatched or ran routes to pick the corners. Locker still had problems, so despite talent (or lack of) at WR, he'll probably struggle at the pro level.

by Michael LaRocca (not verified) :: Mon, 04/25/2011 - 11:00pm

In that case, Jake Locker has to go to a place with the dead night life of Green Bay. I nominate my Panthers!

by Trust Doesn't Rust (not verified) :: Tue, 04/26/2011 - 1:38am

My favorite of all logical fallacies! Great Player X was/is mediocre in some way you wouldn't expect, therefore Prospect Y will be great because he's mediocre in the same way.

by mschuttke :: Tue, 04/26/2011 - 11:06am

Agreed on the logical fallacies issue.

One thing I would note is the idea Vince shared in the beginning, namely the need to look at the era the passer put these numbers up in.

While I do not have enough information to say what type of offense Favre was playing in during his college career, I think it is safe to say that a quarterback playing in Steve Sarkisian's offense who completes 52% of his passes needs to have his accuracy called into question. Yes, part of that completion percentage may lay at the feet of his receivers (if I had more time, I'd do research on the number of dropped passes by Washington receivers) but the analysis regarding Sarkisian not using three-step drops much, to me, speaks to Locker's lack of accuracy. Oddly, he seems very good at throwing on the run, obviously has the arm to make all the throws and has incredible athleticism. Part of it for him could be just the sheer number of reps as Locker played as a wing-t quarterback in high school and, similarly, was encouraged to be more of a dual-threat player at quarterback in his early Washington career rather than develop further as a passer.

I think, based on tools, he has the ability to be very good. However, I am seeing some mock drafts putting him as high as going to Tennessee. In my mind, the optimal place to take a guy like Locker, i.e. someone who needs a lot of skill refinement to reach his potential, is late first or early second-round territory.

by Rocco :: Tue, 04/26/2011 - 2:08pm

Based on what I saw of Locker over the years (not every game, to be fair), it's a reasonable defense to say that he didn't have the talent around him that other QBs had. Still, his accuracy was a problem, and blaming everyone else doesn't really address the underlying issues. He just was not a consistently accurate passer, and his decision making was shaky. They made the same "lack of talent" argument for Matt Ryan and he had better numbers IIRC. Ryan was an accurate passer who forced passes, whereas Locker is an inaccurate passer who forced passes. Locker's a great athlete and by all accounts a good leader but I never really saw the whole "elite QB" thing that had Todd McShay practically asking for his hand in marriage.

by BigWoody (not verified) :: Tue, 04/26/2011 - 2:07pm

Okaayy...we need someone to check his family history. Did the name used to be spelled Lorcke?

Oh, and what is the betting line on how long before PK gives us "inside info" on Locker's retirement/unretirement?

by Bobman :: Wed, 04/27/2011 - 4:12am

Well, Locker hails from the land that invented the venti mocha latte and can probably introduce Peter King to Howard Schultz (SBUX founder), thereby guaranteeing two decades of glowing coverage, even if Jake retires after just seven seasons. King will cover his retirement, his inevitable entry into commercial real estate (or financial advisory services), any broadcast work, and of course, PTA meetings.

KING, circa 2025: I just neural-texted Jake Locker the other day and it seems he's taking his kids to school every morning. In the rain, uphill both ways. What a great dad. The other day the car broke down and he carried them the final half mile. They just don't make 'em like him anymore... We'll hook up for a coffee next time I'm out Seattle way and I'll share some more insights with you then.

by RichC (not verified) :: Wed, 04/27/2011 - 9:01am

"Matt Terl of the Official Redskins blog looked up Favre's and Locker's NCAA statistics, and found they are, in fact, nearly identical:"

Which of course means Favre was a much better college player. ERA is too important to ignore.

What was once a great completion percentage is now below average.

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