SI.com’s Peter King led off this morning’s MMQB with quotes from ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper, who last April claimed Washington quarterback Jake Locker was “etched in stone” as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft.
But Locker isn’t under consideration for the top pick this year. And there is even belief that Locker’s accuracy issues could keep him out of the first round altogether.
Kiper indicated to King that Locker’s decision to stay in school for his senior season was a big mistake. Colossal, really, if it’s true that Locker will fall to the second round.
“Imagine if he came out last year,” Kiper said in MMQB. “I think he would’ve gone number four overall to Washington, and the Redskins never would have traded for Donovan McNabb. But (Locker) comes back and struggles, and who knows where he’s going.”
Kiper’s comments bring to mind a statement he made in a January conference call.
“I know (Redskins coach Mike Shanahan) had a high opinion of Locker last year,” Kiper said earlier this offseason. “There was all that speculation that they would’ve taken him at No. 4 if he had come out.”
Let’s connect some dots. If Shanahan was high enough on Locker to draft him fourth overall last year, he’s probably going to give Locker strong consideration at No. 10 this year. Locker’s senior season really wasn’t that bad, at least relative to past performances. His touchdown-to-interception ratio and passer rating were similar to his junior season, and Locker took fewer sacks and won more games in 2010.
We’re not buying speculation that Locker will fall out of round one. (Neither is King.) Locker’s intangibles and physical tools are as impressive as any quarterback in the 2011 class, and NFL teams look favorably upon quarterbacks that played in pro-style college offenses like Locker did for Steve Sarkisian.
Our last mock draft had Jake Locker going No. 10 to Washington.
Our next mock will have the same.