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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

November 24, 2010 at 9:53 AM

Wednesday morning links and notes — Locker’s draft status dropping?

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Another cold, snowy day here in Seattle and the Huskies have already made the decision to move practice up to 2 p.m. again today after the school decided late in the game to cancel classes.
One hot topic about UW football right now, however, is the draft status of quarterback Jake Locker, (pictured in an AP photo) which I wrote about for my main story for today’s paper. Mostly, I spoke with NFLDraftScout.com analyst Rob Rang, who lives locally and who has been doing this for years and who I think knows as much about this as just about anyone.
Rang wrote a few days ago that scouts were really beginning to question Locker’s status, so I called him about that, and some other topics.
One thing to make clear is that Rang is not a guy looking to make a name by criticizing Locker, and he made clear that he thinks Locker can still move back up into the first round with some good games the rest of the way. But he said in talking with the people he does that there is no doubt that Locker is no longer considered a sure thing to go in the first round.
“Even a month ago it was virtually a lock he would go in the first round, but with every opportunity he continues to disappoint,” Rang said.
And as the story indicates, Rang said it is Locker’s passing accuracy that is the issue.
“Reading defenses, you can kind of explain it away a little bit and say he was fooled on this defense or the receiver broke wrong on this defense,” he said. “I get that. But the accuracy, that just can’t happen. He can’t be that inaccurate in the NFL and be a successful quarterback. We’ve been waiting to see the ligiht come on, so to speak, and it just hasn’t. You see it come on in flickers but not consistently.”
He said he also knows Locker has battled injury of late but that Locker’s issues predated the injuries.
“Unquestionably that’s going to affect his accuracy,” Rang said of the injuries. “At the same time, he wasn’t known for his accuracy prior to his injuries and that was the biggest knock on him coming into the season. So I think it’s hurting him. It’s made the problem even worse. It’s unfortunate for Jake in that this is his opportunity to show some improvement and it’s going to be tough to do that now.”
Rang said he has three QBs now rated higher than Locker — Stanford’s Andrew Luck, Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett, and Auburn’s Cam Newton. He said Locker remains the highest-rated of senior quarterbacks, ahead of Florida State’s Christian Ponder, who is also struggling this year with inconsistency and injury.
And as noted in the story, Rang said he thinks Locker could still reverse the slide with some good games in the two or three UW has left this year plus the Senior Bowl, to which he has already been invited.
“I think it’s going to take a couple of big games to end it, and he’s going to need a big game if they are going to have a chance against Cal, and he’s going to have to go to the Senior Bowl and play well and be the Jake Locker we know he can be.”
I also asked Rang about a few other UW prospects:
— He said Mason Foster is making a big move in the eyes of scouts having “entered the year as a late-round prospect or a guy who would get drafted but not highly to a guy I would say now is in the third round.” He said Foster has shown amazing productivity and an ability to tackle well in the open field and play in space. He said Foster is a little different than Donald Butler, taken in the third round last year, in not being quite as physical. But he said Foster could move up even beyond the third round if he has a good showing at the Senior Bowl, as Butler did last year.


— He said that as of today, safety Nate Williams projects as “a late-round guy.” He said Williams has shown a good ability to play near the line but isn’t as good in coverage. He said Williams “is helped by the fact that it’s a pretty poor safety class, so I think he gets draft, but he’s not a high-round pick that maybe his tackle stats throughout his career would lead you to believe.”
— He said the only other UW senior on the NFL’s radar is LB Victor Aiyewa. “He’s such an intriguing athlete, kind of like Marcel Reece was a few years ago. You just don’t know where you are going to put him. But he’s such a good athlete you could see some team take him on as a developmental guy late and try to get him in the weight room and bulked up so he could be a legit linebacker. He’s not a safety. But as a chase linebacker in the 4-3, if you get another 10-15 pounds on him then you have yourselves something.”
— He also said underclassmen Jermaine Kearse and Chris Polk are definitely on the NFL’s radar and each would have legitimate options if each were to consider leaving early. But he said it would be much more of an option for Polk in part because “it’s a very poor running back class. It’s about as ugly of a running back class as I’ve seen in a long time, and that’s assuming (Alabama’s) Mark Ingram comes out. He’s the only one I see as a lockdown top 50 pick, and that’s including the juniors. Teams are going to need running backs, that’s going to happen. So there are going to be a rash of underclassmen come out in the past, and I haven’t seen many that I would rate higher than Polk.”
IN OTHER NEWS. …
Bud Withers has his weekly Pac-10 notebook, looking at the rash of injuries at the quarterback position.
— GoHuskies.com examines UW’s bowl chances.
— The San Francisco Chronicle writes about the UW-Cal game being the last at Cal’s Memorial Stadium before it is renovated.
— ESPN.com’s Ted Miller picks Cal to win, 24-20.
— Miller also has his weekly “what to watch” entry with segments on Locker and Cal’s split personality.
— Lots of Oregon and Pac-10 links from Ken Goe. Included is this story that LaMichael James was briefly under investigation recently for driving a 2003 Range Rover.
— The Arizona Daily Star has UW seventh in its weekly Pac-10 power poll.
— Also, Jason Stiles has been added to the FSN broadcast for Saturday’s game.
All for now.

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