With college teams still a month away from their first fall practices, Insider begins a regular series that will identify some of the top prospects in the 2011 NFL draft and look at what makes them of such great interest to NFL scouts and coaches.
At a recent lunch near Manhattan's Midtown district, Jake Locker sat with a few members of the media and got a preview of the neighborhood he'll have to revisit in April.
Radio City Music Hall is just down the street, and if many predictions hold -- and they have, in recent years, been accurate for the likes of Sam Bradford and Matthew Stafford -- Locker will be the top pick in this upcoming April's NFL draft. Like Bradford, many believe Locker would have been the top pick had he left as a junior. And Locker had watched this year's draft with his "future participant" radar on.
"I paid attention to what the owners and scouts critiqued of certain guys, what they liked, what they didn't like, and kind of took notes of that kind of stuff," Locker said.
"You look a lot like Tim," noted one reporter. He meant Tim Tebow, the former Florida superstar who this year battled the type of criticism from owners and scouts that Locker referred to earlier.
Physically, the comparison between Tebow and Locker isn't far-fetched. The two QBs have similar heights, weights and easy smiles built for the Heisman Trophy ceremony. But in terms of on-field accomplishments, there's no comparing the two. Consider:
To read why Locker may not be able to take full advantage of his tools in the NFL, you must be an ESPN Insider.