SOME VIDEO OF LOCKER’S PRESS CONFERENCE: From KING-5.
A FEW MORE LOCKER LINKS (9:45 p.m.): — Times columnist Steve Kelley writes that it all worked out exactly as Locker hoped. Also included is a cool anecdotes about Locker shipping Easter baskets to the two kids of one of his agents recently.
— Former Husky QB Brock Huard says he has some concerns about Locker going to the Titans.
— Pat Kirwan of NFL.com says Locker could maybe be the next Steve Young.
— ESPN.com writes that Locker and Blaine Gabbert could now be longtime rivals.
— ProFootballTalk says it was a draft of QB reaches, Locker included.
— Miami apparently really wanted to take Locker but didn’t get the chance.
— Some good insight from the Titans’ front office.
LOCKER TALK (Update, 8:30 p.m.) — Here’s some of what Jake Locker had to say during his conference call with Tennessee reporters tonight:
On having a feeling the Titans liked him after all their scouting on him:
“They showed an interest throughout the process. It was a great coaching staff and was an awesome process to go through with them. I just feel so fortunate to have ended up with them.”
On his expectation of where he was going to be picked: “For me, I tried not to go in with too many expectations. I just wanted to go in and enjoy it through the process. Wherever you end up, you end up and you go make the best of it at that point. I feel really good to have ended up in this situation and I’m looking forward to it.”
On coming to a team with good protection and an offensive linemen coaching background: “I think of it a lot. You look at what their offensive line has been able to do for them moving the rushing game and protecting the quarterback. Year in and year out, they are very consistent, very good at it and something I am looking forward to being a part of.”
On any regrets not coming out of college a year earlier:
“No, not at all.”
On him matching up to the system that Tennessee OC Chris Palmer wants to run: “The running game they have there with Chris Johnson obviously is very explosive for them and a big threat. I think you are able to use the play action off of that and that is something that I have done my whole life. I feel very comfortable doing it. I think that is something that will be a part of the offense. Whatever he asks me to do, I am going to do my best to do it as successfully as I can. I was able to talk to him throughout a lot of this process and kind of get to know him. A guy who has been around the league a long time, knows how to coach the position, knows what it takes to be successful at the position. I was able to see that just through the few workouts that I spent time with him. I was able to learn a lot from him. To watch me and tell me what I needed to fix, you fix on the next throw and the ball was jumping out of your hand. He’s been around quarterbacks for a long time, really understands how to coach the position and I’m looking forward to working with him.”
On how quickly he thinks he will play and be ready to play: “I am going to do my best. I have said throughout this process, ‘Whenever I get my opportunity, I am going to make sure that I am prepared for it and take advantage of it.’ That’s going to be the attitude that I approach this with.”
On him expecting to go when the Titans called him:: “I was just kind of hanging out trying to buy some time, make time go a little faster. I got the call from the Nashville area code there and was just hoping that that was what it was for.”
On if he thought it could be a long day or confident that it would be top ten:” As a competitor, you want to get drafted as high as possible. I wanted to go as high as I could. I did not want to come up with the expectations and expect to go in the top 10, expect to go even in the first day. I was very happy with how this process went for me. I felt really good about it and I knew that I had put myself in a good situation coming into the draft. At this point, it was just kind of waiting and seeing where you’re going to end up.”
On working on his accuracy: “It is something that I think that all quarterbacks are always working on to improve and I am no different. I think that is part of the game when you complete more passes, you become more successful as a passer and allow your team to have more success. It is something that I will focus on and continue to focus on the rest of my career.”
On his leadership qualities: “I think that it is something that I have been surrounded by a lot of good teammates in the past. I’ve had a great supporting cast my whole life. Family and friends have given me a good example of what leadership is and I’ve just tried to do my best to follow suit in that. Learn from what they have taught me and apply it to my life in every situation on and off the field. I look forward to bringing that to the Titans.”
On getting to know Blaine Gabbert through this process and possibly having a rivalry with him after being picked by the Jaguars: “You get to know a lot of these guys throughout this process. A great guy, great talented quarterback and someone that I think will be very successful at the next level. I think you would have a rivalry with anybody you play against. You want to go out there and beat them every time you step on the field against them. That’s kind of the mindset that I will go into that with and against anybody.”
On familiarity with the Titans roster and the city of Nashville: “I got to come out there and go to Nashville for the first time while I had my team visit earlier this month. I really love the city. I think it is a great city. Everything I’ve heard, it is an awesome place to live and I am really looking forward to that opportunity. I’m really looking forward to getting to know the guys in the locker room as well. I haven’t had the opportunity to meet anyone on the team yet but I look forward to getting that opportunity here shortly.”
And here’s a quick link — Titans coach Mike Munchak explains why he liked Locker
MORE ON LOCKER TO THE TITANS — Well, obviously UW fans have to like what they saw tonight as Jake Locker went No. 8 to Tennessee. As I noted below, that had long been the rumor that the Titans were seriously interested in Locker — staying behind to work him out in private the day after UW’s Pro Day — and that turned out to be true.
He becomes the first UW QB ever taken in the first round, the first UW player taken in the first round since Reggie Williams went No. 9 to the Jaguars in 2004, and the highest pick since Steve Emtman went No. 1 overall to the Colts in 1992.
He’s also just the third UW player to be taken in the first round since 1995, the other being Jerramy Stevens at No. 28 overall to Seattle in 2001 (along with Williams).
And in the end, it looks like his gamble to stay in school paid off.
He got the final year of college — and subsequent bowl game — that he so desperately wanted, and still got drafted right where he may have been all along.
Now comes the hard part — proving he’s worth the No. 8 pick overall. That answer won’t come for a while.
For tonight, it’s simply time for Locker to celebrate.
And FYI, the Titans do not play the Seahawks next year. Here is Tennessee’s schedule.
LOCKER TO THE TITANS AT NO 8 — Ultimately, it all worked out for Jake Locker, whose decision to stay resulted in him still going high in the draft.
Tennessee had long been rumored very interested in Locker, and turned out that was one rumor you could believe.
PRE-DRAFT PONDERING — The NFL Draft is just around the corner now, beginning at 5 p.m. Seattle time.
And obviously, one of the big questions of the draft nationally — and even bigger for local fans — is wondering when Jake Locker will get selected and by which team?
My guess remains that he won’t last past the No. 12 pick, but we’ll all find out together soon.
And the Times has you well covered, with updates on Danny O’Neil’s blog, as well as Jerry Brewer’s. Times columnist Steve Kelley is in Ferndale and will have a report from there, as well. Locker is watching the draft with family and friends in Ferndale, and is scheduled to meet with media afterward.
I’ll also try to update this space with any pertinent info. And feel free to use this entry as a place to comment on the NFL Draft.
In the meantime, you can also take a look at these prop bets on the draft from Bodog.com, one of which mentions Locker.