Locker over Luck? The case for Jake.

As we progress through our season of despair as Bills fans, many of us have begun to look to next year. At an 0-5 start. The last time we started 0-5, was the miserable 1985 season that netted us the #1 overall pick with a 2-14 finish that year. With that in mind, we have a good chance at the #1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft, and the chance to use it on a shiny new franchise QB prospect. The Locker pile on has been in full force since the loss to Nebraska. Most threw Jake under the bus based on one game rather than the full body of work. I have not. It has nearly been a consensus at Rumblings that Andrew Luck is the consensus pick for us if he comes out. Even if he does come out, I have been one of the few to hold the contrarian view that even if Luck declares, Locker is the proper pick for the Bills. This article is my attempt to explain why I make the case for Jake.


The talent around the QB, should affect the grade of what you are seeing, when watching them play.


For those who haven't scanned the full discussion of yesterday's  Bills mailbag, I would like to post some quotes from it from Brian and Der Jaeger while discussing Jake Locker by answering questions, with those who think he stinks. These quotes are all things I knew, but was too lazy to pen to try to convince people Locker is good. However, they form the foundation of my argument, which I can then build upon.

TheAfghanTwilight :

I'm highly concerned that Locker will not do well at the NFL level.

How many others before him have shown the physical ability (and those ones even the success in college), only to fail once they hit the NFL? He’s not even doing well in college right now. He’s a bit like an unsuccessful Tim Tebow to me.

Brian Galliford:

Put Jake Locker on that Florida team under Urban Meyer, and you wouldn’t have noticed a single difference.

TheAfghanTwilight :

Probably true. Still. If Jake Locker can’t get it done with that team, and not against consistent top-shelf competition…well, what does that mean for his chances in Buffalo?

Der Jaeger:

Locker vs. USC

There’s not a single player, outside Locker, that would start for USC. Locker willed that team to a win. The Nebraska game is a bit of an outlyer in terms of Locker’s history. But that one game made most amateur evaluators jump ship.

Locker is Tebow without any questions of the throwing motion. Except that Locker will have two years in a pro style offense prior to coming to the NFL, where Tebow had none.

TheAfghanTwilight :

The dropoff from Luck to Locker is significant.

Brian Galliford:

No, it really isn’t. It exists, but it’s not significant.


Outlier? Maybe. His stats haven’t been all that good in either offense in which he’s played, and his accuracy is pretty bad. Take out that nebraska game and his accuracy is still only just 60%, with his single above the mean game coming against syracuse.I can see reasons for people to be excited about him, but i personally don’t care for him much at all.

Der Jaeger:

Locker's stats are greatly effected by his first two years, where he was a spread option QB

Look at his progression in and during 2009, and in 2010.

Locker was a 58.2% passer in 2009 in 12 games. In four of those games, he was over 60%, including 82% versus Cal. Three games he was 57%. So he was fairly accurate in seven of 12 games. The lowest games was 52%.

The "so what" is that when Locker is asked to throw in the 20’s in terms of attempts, he was accurate.

In 2010, in 5 games, he’s been over 60% three times. If you start looking at dropped passes, he would have completed 70% of his passes against USC (five dropped passes) and over 60% against BYU (three dropped passes). Except for the Nebraska game, Locker’s lowest attempt number is 33.

The "so what" is that Locker has improved his accuracy, and has done so with increased workload. The Nebraska game is the outlier by a long shot. Chalk that up to Washington having not one player that could start for Nebraska outside Locker himself, and Locker trying too hard.


I think we have now established that Jake Locker plays on a team without much talent, besides Jake.

The NFL is a different beast, because of Parity, it can be rarely said that no player besides Jake (If we drafted him) in the Bills starting lineup couldn't start for the opposing team over the course of a season. He would be actually receiving a talent upgrade in his jump to the NFL, vs. what he has in Washington to work with. When the Huskies win games, it is usually on the back of Locker.

Stanford on the other hand, Andrew Luck has a much better supporting cast, he is rarely asked to win games all on his own.

Let's go further, and look at the coaching staff.

Jim Harbaugh is a top notch coach and playcaller. When I watch Stanford, I never cease to be amazed at how good he is. He knows when to call playaction, he knows how to help out his young QB in Luck, he knows how to keep a defense off balance in a close game. He will be an NFL head coach in the not too far down the line future. He has also contributed to Luck's development, but Luck has never been thrown to the wolves like Jake has for 4 years and asked to carry that team on his back.

Sarkisian, he is a NCAA/CFL/UFL lifer. He will never be an NFL head coach, when I watch Huskies games, I continuously see flaws in game plans that sometimes make Jake look bad.

I have always said, If Andrew Luck played for Washington, and Jake Locker played for Stanford the past 2 years, we would not even be having this conversation. Locker would be the consensus pick, and I stand by that.

Run Jake Run!

One of the things that strikes me the most about Jake Locker and why he is a good fit for the Bills, is his athleticism. He has the speed and elusiveness of an NFL starting running back, while also being blessed with the arm and accuracy of a legitimate NFL starting QB. This is unheard of.

From one of the former quotes by Der Jaeger.

Locker is Tebow without any questions of the throwing motion. Except that Locker will have two years in a pro style offense prior to coming to the NFL, where Tebow had none.

Actually DJ he is a much better runner than Tebow, Tebow ran a 4.71 in the 40 at the combine. Locker is a sub 4.4 40 guy with reported measurements of 4.39. That's the fastest QB in the NFL not named Michael Vick. To put Locker's speed in perspective, that is Maurice Jones Drew, Joesph Addai speed who can throw.

Is there a better Wildcat QB that ever existed?

Tebow is more of a NFL FB in terms of running style, Locker is a legit NFL starting RB in terms of running style. I never cease to be amazed at his elusiveness,  don't try to arm tackle Locker in the backfield, he will duck under it and burn for 20-40 yards on the edge. He is a man-man coverage killer. Use the routes to open up huge open areas for big gains. Teach him to find the soft spots in zones, and he will be deadly in the NFL with his running ability.

For reference to show how fast Locker really is,

Jay Cutler 4.77 40
Tim Tebow 4.71 40
Vince Young 4.57 40
Jake Locker 4.39 40

Jake's unique speed, gives him an edge very few have.

Precedents, underclassmen, and you can't teach on the job experience.

Der Jaeger made a nice comment on the mailbag thread, that Jay Cutler sets the precedent for a Jake Locker type, while some questioned if Locker is a #1 using that precedent, without noticing Locker is a superior runner compared to Cutler.

When you think Locker, think Jay Cutler

Just without the ridiculous athleticism. Here’s why.

Cutler during his four years at Vanderbilt:710 completions, 1242 attemps, 8697 yards, 59 TD’s, 36 INT’s, 1256 rushing yards, 57.2 % completions. 11-35 record.

Locker (pro rating his current stats through the 2010 season):
658 completions, 1219 attempts, 8122, 55 TD’s, 33 INT’s, 1772 rushing yards, 53.9 % completions, 10-23 record so far.

Also note that Locker only played 4 games in 2008 before getting hurt, and played his first two seasons in a spread option.

Cutler in Denver in first three seasons:
37 games, 17-20 record, 762 completions, 1220 attempts, 9024 yards, 54 TD’s, 37 INT’s, 423 rushing yards, 62.5 % completion.

Moral of the story: precedent has been set for a QB like Locker to be successful. Playing in a run-oriented offense, like Shanahan’s in Denver, is the likely best way, though Cutler is playing well in Chicago. Shanahan would have likely gotten Cutler’s INT’s numbers down, where Martz’s vertical offense enhances the likelihood of INT’s.

Personally, I’d take Locker #1 overall if Luck doesn’t declare.

The precedents I am more interested in is underclassmen QBs, The Parcells rule is you don't take a QB that isn't a senior that has at least 23 starts.

I never ceased to be amazed by people who would rather have higher upside underclassman, rather than 4 years starters who are NFL ready.

Has Aaron Maybin vs. Brian Orakpo taught you nothing?

Orakpo was a 4 year starter, Maybin was a 1 year wonder. How could anyone possible want Maybin over Orakpo? He has a fast first step, but a small body of work. The point is moot for me, since I wanted to draft Oher, but I would have easily taken Orakpo over Maybin, you can't teach experience, and if Maybin is so bad that he can't get on the field, it is time to move on.

Let everyone look at that as a lesson, when deciding if you want a underclassmen, especially at QB.

For underclassmen, the busts are many, the happy endings are few.

Look at Junior QBs, the two best success stories, would probably be Rothlisberger, and Aaron Rodgers.

Rodgers sat 3 years on the bench before he hit the field except in spot mop up duty. We don't have the luxury of HOF QB to play while we sit him.

Rothlisberger played his first year, was asked to only be a game manager for his first two years behind a strong defense and a strong running game with the Bus. We have neither.

It's sketchy taking a QB that is a junior, It is even more sketchy taking a QB as a sophomore in the top 5 picks.

There is only 1, his name is Michael Vick, his success came from his legs and his 4.27 40 speed. Even to this day he is a mixed bag.

In terms of mobility, Jake Locker is no Michael Vick
Andrew Luck is no Jake Locker in terms of mobility.

Can Andrew Luck survive the NFL with this team, while subtracting 2 years of experience I ask?

Can he even get to his third read without suffering a concussion on an Adrian Wilson blitz like Trent?

He has performed poorly in his second year coming from behind, posting only a 1-5 record when being asked to throw more than 30 attempts. He was knocked around in the Oregon game once he had to take the team on his back and couldn't do it, when they fell behind. He will have to do it here if we draft him. What makes you think he can do it here at this point, if he can't do it in a college yet with a top notch playcaller?

This is the first year Locker is able to start being able to win games when he has to throw alot, he is 2-2 this year when having 30 pass attempts on a much less talented team than Stanford, while posting similar numbers as Luck his first 3 years when playing from behind.

All I can say , is you can't teach experience.

Locker has it.

Luck needs more before making the jump to the NFL.

That is my case for Jake.

Comment away.

Just another great fan opinion shared on the pages of

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