Kaepernick, Locker make different last impressions

NFL scouts leave Mobile en masse Wednesday night and Thursday morning, making Wednesday’s practice impressions incredibly important.

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The focus of the morning practice was again the North team quarterbacks: Jake Locker (Washington), Colin Kaepernick (Nevada) and Ricky Stanzi (Iowa).

Jake Locker again struggles with accuracy during Wednesday’s practice. (AP)   The best passer on the field was Kaepernick, who threw tight spirals to either side of the field, had an exceptional touch throw into the back right corner of the end zone, and looked smooth and fluid running out of the pocket when his primary receiver was covered. When he sets his feet and throws a tight ball, Kaepernick’s velocity is more than what’s needed to make every NFL throw.

His delivery is still an issue — he winds up a bit and sometimes stops at the top of the delivery before unleashing. One of his passes to the far side of the field was knocked down by a linebacker dropped into coverage — partially because of the pause, and partially because Kaepernick didn’t read the linebacker. The elongation is not as bad as that shown by Tim Tebow and Byron Leftwich in recent years, but will need to be addressed once in an NFL camp.

Tuesday’s practice seemed to be a step forward for Locker, who needed to make a solid impression all week to become more than a fantastic athlete with potential. Wednesday he struggled again to connect consistently with receivers while standing in the pocket, coming up short on multiple throws to the wide side of the field. It is clear the Pac-10 star passer is aiming or pressing, trying to be perfect on every throw instead of allowing his athleticism and arm strength to shine through.

If Locker cannot exhibit NFL-caliber accuracy on seam or out routes when playing against air in one-on-one drills, or even against a half-effort pass rush in team scrimmages, it is hard to project him doing it during his NFL career.

Stanzi’s practice was very similar to Locker’s. He came up short on multiple passes when his receiver was in perfect position to receive the throw and sailed the ball on seam passes. He is able to stand tall and deliver a tight ball from the pocket, which will entice teams who like his 6-foot-4, 221-pound frame and starting experience.