Jake Locker missed time with injuries again last season, as he missed the final seven games with a Lisfranc injury to his right foot and two games prior to that with a hip injury. This is looking like a make-or-break season for the former first-round pick, with the Titans choosing not to pick up Locker’s option for 2015, but for this year they seem committed to him as their starting quarterback under new head coach Ken Whisenhunt.
Locker participated in offseason work as he works his way back from Lisfranc surgery, which is a great sign with a new offense being installed. Despite his lack of durability and dismal performance, the Titans replaced Ryan Fitzpatrick with Charlie Whitehurst behind Locker and rookie Zach Mettenberger (torn ACL) may not be 100 percent until late in the season.
Locker showed better efficiency as a passer last year, completing over 60 percent of his pass with just four interceptions in 183 pass attempts. Working with Whisenhunt should help him continue to improve, and solid skill position talent around him will also help.
Locker adds to his fantasy value with his running ability, including two rushing touchdowns last season, so if he can be healthy his production on the ground has a chance to become noteworthy.
It’s not safe to bet on Locker playing all 16 games, and even if he stays healthy continued struggles could land him on the bench fairly quickly. Locker has a career completion percentage of 57.2 percent, which has to improve if he has any chance to take a big step this year. If Mettenberger gets healthy and Locker is struggling late in the season, a quarterback switch may come.
Locker is nothing more than a speculative pick in fantasy drafts and auctions this year, but with the chance he puts things together under a more proven offensive head coach there is some upside in drafting him as a QB2 in deep leagues. I think it’s more likely he goes undrafted in the majority of leagues at this point, but it wouldn’t be totally surprising to see Locker become a popular waiver wire addition during the season.
Bye Week: Week 9
Projected Round: 13th Round
Auction Value: $1
Brad Berreman is a Senior Writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter.