Everybody has their favorite QB for the 2011 NFL Draft. I personally like Ponder, others are hoppin' on the ginger bandwagon for Dalton, some people prefer the Cam-wagon, and still others are hoping that Blaine Gabbert falls to the Bengals at the No. 4 spot. However, there's always at least one guy who becomes the fan favorite whipping boy -- the proverbial Meg Griffen (Family Guy) of quarterbacks in the 2011 draft -- and that person is Jake Locker. It doesn't seem all that long ago that Locker was considered a forerunner among the Bengals quarterback candidates. His resume includes: A potential top ten quarterback candidate last year, a blazing 4.5 in the forty yard dash at the combine (faster than Cam Newton by a tenth), and the starting QB gig for the North in the Senior Bowl coached by (you guessed it) the staff of the Cincinnati Bengals.
So why the slide in the eyes of so many? The answer is pretty simple: accuracy. This is a concern that he tried to put to rest on Wednesday at his pro day with Washington. Locker completed 38 of 40 passes at the pro day, opting out of any of the physical drills after showing at the combine that he's clearly a top level athlete.
Locker told reporters at the pro day,
It was better. It was more consistent. There were a few throws in the combine that I didn't like and would have liked to do over again, and today, I felt like every ball came off my hand good. I felt confident, and it went where I wanted it to.
It's being reported that 12 teams showed up to watch Locker perform, however none of the Bengals head coaches were in attendance at the pro day (it's unclear if
Bengals scouts the Bengal's scout was present) - a fact you could interpret in one of two ways. You could go the conspiracy theory route, and say that the Bengals are slow playing their interest in the quarterback. They did, after all, get an up close look at Locker during the Senior Bowl. However, the much more likely scenario is that the Bengals have waning interest in the QB. Because of his on the field accuracy issues, he's probably not an ideal fit for the West Coast offense that the Bengals are in, while other quarterbacks like Florida St.'s Christian Ponder or TCU's Andy Dalton are projected as prototypical west coast quarterbacks.