Over the past few months, I've grown a big-time appreciation for the work Wes Bunting does for National Football Post. He is their NFL Draft analyst and does a good amount of original work throughout the week.
Today, he released his top 30 prospects. Tops among them is Washington quarterback Jake Locker. While Locker has looked good in three games, how many people thought so highly of him before the season? As a freshman he was very inconsistent and he had a broken wrist as a sophomore.
This isn't the first time Locker has been getting highly touted this season. Southern California coach Pete Carroll has been singing Locker's praises lately. ESPN's Chris Mortensen thinks Locker could be the No. 1 quarterback taken if he returns of his senior year. There was also word making the rounds among writers Saturday that a lot of NFL scouts are impressed by Locker.
For me, it's just a little too early to have Locker so highly ranked. In fact, in my preseason top 100, Locker isn't even ranked. The biggest reason for that is because Locker was coming up such a down year in 2008.
Injuries aren't the only reason. I have doubts about how fast Locker can read defenses. Because of this deficiency, he is sometimes late on throws and inaccurate. He also has the tendency to panic when the blitz is on and not step into the natural pocket in front of him to make a throw. Here's a tip if you watch Locker -- keep an eye on his feet. The best quarterbacks have their feet planted almost always. Locker tap dances around too much.
Still, there is plenty to like about Locker. He has a very good arm and solid athleticism. You also can't knock his toughness. Most other quarterbacks would have sat out last season. I might not think Locker is the best player in the nation right now, but he has the tools to get there.