Redskins back on Locker in the first round?

Redskins back on Locker in the first round?
April 18, 2011, 1:14 pm
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Monday, April 18, 2011 9:00 a.m.By Rich Tandler
Redskins Blogger
Right after the college football season ended and the first mock drafts came out, many of them had Jake Locker penciled in as the Redskins selection with the 10th pick of the draft. The logic was pretty simple: The Redskins need a quarterback, and Mike Shanahan was reported to be considering taking him with the fourth pick in the draft a year ago before Locker decided to return to college for his senior season.But then Locker turned in a week of practice at the Senior Bowl that received less-than-glowing reviews. In particular, many observers thought his accuracy was a big issue. Since this was a player who completed just 53.9 percent of his passes in four years at Washington, he needed a better showing at the Senior Bowl to allay the concerns about his ability to throw on target.After that, his draft stock started to slide, and he disappeared not only from the 10 slot in most mock drafts, but also to somewhere completely out of the first round. There seemed to be little chance the Redskins would draft him at all, much less with their first selection.Now, about three months later, Locker seems to be creeping back into the first round conversation, even though he hasnt played a game. He looked good both throwing the ball and running at the NFL Combine. Further examination of his college tape has revealed his lackluster completion percentages were due in part that the Huskies offense was a complete wreck during his first two seasons and that the offense lacked top-notch players.For a while, many Redskins fans were thinking if the Redskins still wanted Locker, they would be able to take the best available player in the first round and still have Locker there waiting for them with their second-round pick, the 41st overall.Now, however, it appears Locker may be gone if the Redskins wait until the second round. Quarterbacks always are drafted higher than their talent level would dictate, and this year the demand for quarterbacks is considerably higher than the supply of quality players. Some recent mock drafts have Locker going as high as 12th to the Minnesota Vikings. So, were back to the question of whether the Redskins should draft Locker at 10.That is not the real question, however. If Locker can be the Redskins starting quarterback and be a competent performer for a number of years, it doesnt matter where the Redskins draft him. They could take him at 10, they could trade up and take him, and if he solves the problem at the most important position on the field, it will be worth whatever the Redskins have to forgo in terms of a lineman or wide receiver.And if the Redskins draft Locker anywhere in the first two rounds and he doesnt become a productive player, it will be a setback for the organization. Not a disaster, mind you (unless, for some reason, they trade up to get him, but thats unlikely), but if you have a draft pick in the top 40 that doesnt pan out and you use a lot of time and resources in an attempt to develop a quarterback who turns out to be the wrong guy, its a setback.The rub is, of course, that you dont know until you spend the draft pick and put the time into developing him. All you can do is make your best guess and go with it.If the bet for the Redskins top draft pick is Locker or the field, take the field. But it wont be shocking if he is the guy.Rich Tandler blogs about the Redskins at Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @Rich_Tandler.