When the Tennessee Titans selected quarterback Jake Locker with the 8th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft the Titans brain trust thought they had found the future of their franchise. You cannot blame the Titans front office from being lured in by Locker’s impressive measurables and tantalizing athleticism. If the Wonderlic tested for mental toughness and competitive fire, Locker would have likely went undrafted.
In an effort to protect the confidence of the mentally fragile quarterback the Titans chose not to acquire another quarterback who would push Locker for the starting spot. The Titans have gone to extraordinary lengths to keep Locker’s confidence in check, by making it crystal clear to all quarterbacks they acquired that they were entrenched as the back-up and they had no chance at starting no matter how poor Locker played.
The Titans commitment to Locker has certainly cost them their fare share of losses, but the security the young quarterback once experienced may be near its end. Titans general manager Ruston Webster has yet to acquire a quarterback to challenge Locker via free agency but will he resist the urge to select a talented developmental project through the NFL Draft.
Titan fans have already seen what current back-up Ryan Fitzpatrick has to offer and will unlikely cheer for him to replace Locker if he struggles. But if the Titans were to select a quarterback in the first four rounds of the NFL draft such as EJ Manuel from Florida State or Matt Scott from Arizona, chants for them to enter the game would intensify if Locker continues to struggle with accuracy and inconsistency. In 2011, the Titans thought they had found their next franchise quarterback, soon we will know if Webster believes in Locker or if a contingency plan is already in the works.