Every two days, Rishi Pochiraju will reveal a quarterback on his grand list of quarterback rankings. Each quarterback will receive a grade out of 50 – 10 points for each category. No. 30 is up next.
#30. Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans
2013 will be Jake Locker’s third season in the league and as a member of the Tennessee Titans. So far, I’ve seen nothing out of him that makes me believe he was worth the 8th overall pick in the 2011 draft. A completion percentage at 56 and more interceptions than touchdowns for his career simply doesn’t get the job done or help his cause as a starting quarterback.
Locker has the tools to be a solid starter, but injury has limited him throughout his first two seasons in Tennessee. A combination of a bad offensive line and a lack of mental awareness led to the injuries, and Locker looks to fix that and improve this season.
Physical traits and athleticism
Locker is at a perfect size for a quarterback, standing at 6-3 and weighing 234 pounds. He is a gifted athlete with natural speed – Locker has the ability to escape the pocket and make plays with his legs, but often got sacked and was not able to use this ability due to the bad protection. Physically, he is in a prime position for success. However, he will only succeed if he uses his athleticism wisely. Grade: 6.5/10
Locker has a rocket arm. He can throw the ball as far as most quarterbacks in the league, but his accuracy has been inconsistent throughout his professional career. This accuracy problem is possibly a result of bad vision inside the pocket (especially under pressure). Locker is capable of making any throw, but the inconsistency needs to stop in order for him to become a solid player. Grade: 5/10
With a clean pocket and clear vision, Locker will be accurate and deliver the ball on time. However, when he is faced with pressure, especially off the edge (from the slot), he fails to set his feet and the ball often sails, is picked off, or is incomplete. However, Locker has a very quick release, so the ball should get there on time. He needs to clean up his mechanics in the face of pressure. Grade: 5/10
I believe Locker is hitting the film room hard this offseason. He struggled in recognizing blitzes; one of them led to his shoulder injury against Houston – it cost him five games. Locker needs to be able to recognize the blitzes and coverage, and get the ball out on time to avoid being hit in the pocket and avoid making bad decisions. He does do a good job of knowing when to run, but that could simply be natural instinct. Grade: 4/10
I’ve heard nothing but good impressions of Jake Locker’s determination and will to succeed. However, is it enough? As I said, he failed to recognize blitzes last season, and doing so starts in the offseason with superior preparation. Regardless of what happened in Locker’s past, he should bounce back better, as well as mentally stronger and wiser, this season. Grade: 6.5/10
Locker comes across as a hard-working player who wants to do anything to improve himself. The question is how exactly will he attempt to do that? If he starts and plays in every game this season, he can possibly silence the doubters. Overall grade: 27/50