Jake Locker grew up in Ferndale, Washington and played football for his home town’s Ferndale High, following in the footsteps of his father and three uncles who had also played there. He led his team to an undefeated 14-0 record in 2005 as a senior, passing for 1,579 yards and 26 TDs. He was also an excellent runner and rushed that same season for 1,338 yards and another 24 TDs. He was rated by Rivals as a four-star dual threat quarterback and ranked #4 nationally at the quarterback position. He was also named to the First-team All-America by Parade. Locker was also an accomplished high school baseball player, drafted in the 40th round of the 2006 Major League Baseball Draft. He decided not to sign and instead accepted a scholarship to attend the University of Washington.
He redshirted his initial season (2006) at Washington, but was named the starter following spring drills prior to the next season. Surprisingly, Locker played baseball in the summer of 2008 for the Birmingham Bells of the West Coast Collegiate Baseball League and was named as the League’s top prospect. He again started for the Huskies as a sophomore, but broke his right thumb throwing a block in the fourth game and missed the rest of the season.
He returned and started all twelve games for the next two seasons, passing for 5,065 yards and 38 TDs against 20 interceptions, while also running for 773 yards and another 13 TDs. He was known as a tough competitor, but struggled with accuracy as a passer, completing only 54.0% of his passes over his four years. He was also frequently sacked, going down 74 times and threw 35 interceptions.
Locker was thought to be a top prospect for the 2010 NFL Draft, but returned to school for his senior season. Some actually considered him as the top overall pick. His somewhat disappointing senior year reduced opinion on Locker as the 2011 NFL Draft approached. He ran a 4.59 40-yard dash at the Combine and displayed good athleticism as well as strength.
Even so, he was a surprising 8th overall pick by the Tennessee Titans as the second quarterback drafted, only after Cam Newton. Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder followed closely behind Locker as the 10th and 12th picks.
Locker played sparingly in his rookie year, backing up Matt Hasselbeck. After a supposedly open competition during the next summer’s training sessions, Locker was named the starter. He had mixed results at the beginning of the year, but played really well in week 3, completing 29 of 41 passes for 378 yards and 2 TDs, while also running for 35 yards. However, he suffered a separated shoulder on the Titans’ second offensive possession and missed the next 5 games. His production down the stretch was not impressive, throwing for over 200 yards only three times, and none after week 14. He also threw 9 interceptions over the six games.
His career statistics are provided below.
Looking Forward to 2013
Dowell Loggains who was elevated to interim offensive coordinator replacing Chris Palmer was named the offensive coordinator during the off-season. Since the Titans’ offensive production slipped down the stretch a year ago, there was little rejoicing in Nashville over the promotion. He had served previously as the quarterback coach, so he and Locker should be familiar with each other.
There has been talk that the offense is being redirected to better match the strengths of Locker, possibly using some pistol formations and including more passes to Chris Johnson. Another positive factor is that Locker had shoulder surgery during the off-season and should be completely recovered from the issue that troubled him a year ago and ready to go during the July work-outs.
The Titans’ offensive line got a huge boost during the summer, first as the team signed Andy Levitre as the left guard and later with the drafting of Chance Warmack as the right guard in the first round of the draft. Matt Bitonti rates the offensive line as the 7th best in the NFL and quite a bit better than last season.
The team added Shonn Green in free agency and he should play enough to keep Chris Johnson’s legs alive. The combination of some rest for Johnson and the improved offensive line should benefit the running game and in turn give Locker some time, especially on play-action passes. The team’s receiving options are decent with Kenny Britt healthier, Kendall Wright in his season season and the additions of rookie Justin Hunter and free agent Kevin Walter, along with long-time spot producer Nate Washington. The team also signed Delanie Walker to a free agent contract to replace Jared Cook.
- Locker is the unquestioned starter and should benefit from the increased reps during the summer’s practices
- Much improved offensive line should greatly benefit the running and passing production
- Improved weapons for Locker to throw to including a healthy Kenny Britt, who is in the last year of his contract
- Locker has continued to struggle with accuracy, averaging only 55.5% completion rate over his first two seasons
- Locker has averaged 7.1 ypc as a rusher, but rarely is used as a runner
- An improved running game could limit the opportunities for passing production
There are several factors that could lead to improved production for Jake Locker in his third season. The additional practice time this summer, the improved offensive line, a potentially highly productive wide receiver in Kenny Britt, and a more effective running game could all combine to aid greatly in his development. Having the cerebral Ryan Fitzpatrick as the second teamer could also help Locker develop.
His current ADP is QB26, so the cost is minimal. You can draft him very late, primarily counting on him as an emergency fill-in. Then, if the stars align, he could prove to be a worthy replacement for an underperformer.
Michael Amburgey discusses the importance of 2013 to Jake Locker, Coach Munchak and the Titans http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1644682-jake-lockers-growth-will-be-key-for-offense-tennessee-titans-in-2013
It's a make-or-break year for Locker, Mike Munchak and the Tennessee Titans' current management. Credit should be given to Webster and Munchak for doing what they think is going to be a sure-fire approach in this upcoming year and beyond, and pulling out all the stops to get there. In the "Not For Long" league, let's hope the moves pay dividends for management, coaches, players and fans this year, or the team as we know it won't be there for long—Jake Locker included.
Jimmy Morris on SB Nation talks about Ron Jaworski’s opinion on Jake Locker’s 2012 Season http://www.musiccitymiracles.com/2013/1/6/3841258/jaws-ranks-titans-jake-locker-29th-qb-in-nfl
This is what Jaworski had to say - I think Locker has shown good feel in the pocket, but I'd like to see improved foot movement. At times he looked a little slow-footed and I think he could benefit from a solid dose of agility drills in the offseason. That said, inaccuracy remains his biggest issue.
Sinn Fein in the Spotlight Thread http://forums.footballguys.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=682255#entry15616385
Locker may be improved as an NFL QB - but his numbers are not likely to show it. Based on 2013 passing-yards-against, he faces the number 1,2,3,4,5,& 6 ranked defenses next year, and the worst defense he gets to face will be Jacksonville - at #22. So no bottom feeders to help bolster his stats.
His 1st half schedule is particularly brutal - opening @Pitt (1) and @ Hou (16), with games against SD (18), NYJ ( 2, albeit without Revis), KC (12), @Sea (6), and SF (4). After the bye, he has a decent stretch: Stl (15), Jax (22), Indy (21), Oak (20) and Indy (21) - I could see him as a useful fill-in during this stretch, assuming he stays healthy. But then weeks 14 and 15: @Denver (3), and Arizona (5) - Just can't see those as the playoff match-ups you want to see in fantasy.
Locker gets a little bump based on his running ability, but that also carries an increased injury risk, which may negate the rushing points.I still like his long-term potential - but this season is going to be a test for him and the Titans' patience with him - he may struggle based on opponents and not necessarily based on his own skill level.
More from Steve Holloway:
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