Draft expert Rob Rang says UW’s Locker is top QB in draft

Jan 6, 2011, 7:16 PM | Updated: Apr 4, 2011, 7:54 pm


By Michael Simeona, MyNorthwest.com intern

Before Thursday, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck was going to be the consensus No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft. But after Luck’s announcement to stay at school for his junior season, could UW’s Jake Locker be considered the top overall quarterback prospect in next year’s draft?

“As crazy as it sounds, I have Jake Locker as the No. 1 quarterback in this draft,” said NFL draft expert Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com. “I do not believe he’ll be the first one drafted, but in my mind he’s the best bet to be successful in the NFL.”

Just last year Locker was widely considered to be one of the top picks in the draft before deciding to return for his senior season at Washington. Despite leading the Huskies to their first postseason bowl appearance in eight years, Locker’s 2010 season didn’t live up to the hype and expectation associated with being labeled as the top overall pick and was surpassed by Luck as the best quarterback prospect of the ’11 class.

But with Luck staying at Stanford another season it opens up the possibility of Locker being the first quarterback chosen off the board this April. Although junior quarterback’s such as Ryan Mallett (Arkansas), Cam Newton (Auburn), and Blaine Gabbert (Missouri) have established themselves as first round talent, Locker still seems to be the safest pick according to Rang.

“I really believe that Jake Locker is the safest of the bunch,” Rang said on Thursday’s show. “That sounds crazy because we’ve all seen how inconsistent Jake Locker can be, but at the same time he is an athletic phenom – I don’t think anybody can argue with that. He has the intangibles everybody’s looking for and at the same time he’s coming from a pro style offense. So there’s going to be less of a projection as to how he’s going to be able to handle the jump to the NFL.”

Locker will have one more opportunity to show off his talents before the draft during the Senior Bowl on Jan. 29 where over 800 front office personnel from all 32 teams will be watching. With Locker being the only senior out of the projected group of quarterbacks to be taken in the first round, Rang believes it’s a golden opportunity for him to show why he should be the first quarterback taken off the board based off his performance in the elite All-Star game.

“If Jake Locker has a strong performance in the Senior Bowl I still believe that there’s a chance that he’s going to go in the top 15 of this draft.”

Rang also discussed who he thinks the Carolina Panthers will select with the top overall pick, and who the Seahawks might be interested in drafting other than a quarterback. You can listen to the entire interview right here.

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