Rob Rang on Jake Locker: ‘He has shown the improvement’

Published on January 27, 2011 by     Tacoma News Tribune (Feed)

So after three days of Senior Bowl practice, it’s time to get a perspective on Jake Locker from the NFL decision-makers, right?

So how about it Norv Turner, the Chargers’ head coach whose considered somewhat of a quarterback whisperer. What do you think of Locker?

“I really haven’t seen him enough yet,” Turner said.

Trent Baalke, the 49ers general manager, is with a team that needs a quarterback and he watched Wednesday’s workout from the field. Did he have time to talk about what he’s seen?

“No,” he said, shaking his head. “No.”

New Vikings coach Leslie Frazier was very honest talking about his team’s quarterback needs after the morning practice.

“It’s one we’ve got to really address,” he said of the position. “We’re one team in our division that doesn’t have a concrete starter, and so we’re kind of looking up to the rest of our division at that position. So we’ve got to address it this offseason, and hopefully find the right guy.”

Well, that’s a start. At least we’ve got a team that’s up front in looking for a quarterback. So what’s Frazier looking for when he evaluates a quarterback specifically at the Senior Bowl.

“Well, you’re trying to see how he interacts with any of his teammates,” Frazier said. “You’re looking for the leadership qualities that you’d like to have in a quarterback. You obviously want to see what the talent level is like and just trying to find out what kind of leader he is. So there’s a lot of different things you’re trying to gauge. It’s a long process. This is just the beginning.”

Well, now let’s get down to specifics. How has Locker looked to Frazier?

“It’s too early to comment on any of the guys that are coming out right now,” Frazier said. “There will be a time. Some time in April. On draft day.”

NFL teams may be in the business of collecting information this time of year, they’re not in the business of sharing it. Not with a name attached anyway.

So how about some analysts. Pat Kirwan is an analyst for Sirius Radio, someone who has a friendship with Seahawks coach Pete Carroll that spans decades. How does he see Locker?

“I like Jake,” Kirwan said. “I’m glad he came to the game. I think he needed to be here. The kid from Nevada – at times – has shined on top of him a little bit.”

That would be Colin Kaepernick of Nevada.

“(He) offers some things that Jake doesn’t, mobility,” Kirwan said. “Jake’s mobile, but that other guy sets into a motion a point of reference that’s a good one.

“Lots of people see Jake as NFL ready. I know his coach very well. I know he got him ready. Safe pick. You’re going to ask me if I think he’s a first-rounder. I think he’s going to have a long spring holding that off. Maybe a second half of the first round, you start worrying, ‘If I don’t take him here, I won’t get him.’ I don’t think it’s a very good quarterback class.”

And then there’s Rob Rang, a draft analyst for NFLDraftScout.com, who offered a synopsis of his Wednesday practice:

“He wasn’t quite as good as he was yesterday, but he was very solid. I thought that it was certainly a better practice than he had Monday. So he has shown the improvement throughout the course of the week that you’re looking for from him.

“In talking with scouts, they know of the struggles that Washington has had with the offensive line, the drops they have had from skill-position players. I think you’ve seen the potential that Jake has, and that’s all scouts want to see is that he does have that potential. That wasn’t just the film lying to them, and that he has shown the improvement that you’re looking for and that’s what’s going to lead to him ultimately being a first-round pick.”

— Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

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