Commentary

Big Board sees Jake Locker's return

Jake Locker had a terrible season, but his stock is climbing some among evaluators

Updated: April 13, 2011, 12:42 PM ET
By Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN.com

It's amazing to consider where Jake Locker stood at this time last year. Having made his decision to return to Montlake for another year of development under Steve Sarkisian, he was, I believe, rightfully considered a potential No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft. But those convinced 40-yard dash times, big arm strength and all the other combine measurements are too big a factor in the evaluation process need only remember Locker. His senior year was poor by most measures, with a consistent stretch of erratic play and too many missed throws. It cost him.

But since the season ended, Locker has managed to bounce back some, both in workouts that call into question what he was working with on that team and through a reinforcement that, despite a lot of bad tape, shows all the skills and intangibles seem to be there. Sure, concerns exist, but give Locker credit for eroding some doubt. It seems more clear as the draft approaches that it'll be difficult for some team not to be wooed by his potential in Round 1.

As always, juniors and draft-eligible sophomores are noted with an asterisk.


Big Board Bar

1
CB
6-0
219

Analysis: An extraordinary athlete, Peterson has 4.3 speed, safety size, good cover skills and a willingness to hit. He also offers help in the return game. Last week: No. 1

2
LB
6-3
246

Analysis: Miller can impact NFL games early in his career as a pass-rushing 3-4 outside linebacker, but he's shown coverage skills, too. Big-time athlete. Last week: No. 2

3
DT
6-4
297

Analysis: After facing some questions about his size, has had great workouts, and the pile of tape is still immense. Versatility and skills imply star potential. Last week: No. 3

4
DE
6-3
319

Analysis: Dareus is a gifted penetrator with pass-rush skills to burn and a good motor. Well-liked, scheme-versatile, he has impressed during draft lead-up. Last week: No. 4

5
WR
6-4
211

Analysis: Premier wideout in the draft. Good route-runner, great size and hands, good speed (4.48 in Indy). No pro day hiccups. Last week: No. 5


Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst