Jake Locker is pretty enthusiastic about all the offensive help coming from the early stages of the 2013 NFL Draft, and he should be. The third-year quarterback already has a nice set of bookend tackles in Michael Roos and David Stewart along with former 2,000-yard rusher Chris Johnson, but the interior line was at times a disaster last year. Tight end Jared Cook was horrendously misused and Kenny Britt forever struggles to stay on the field — though he did play in a career-high number of games in 2012.
Still, it’s hard not to get excited about the Tennessee Titans taking guard Chance Warmack 10th overall and Justin Hunter 34th overall if you’re the Titans starting quarterback. Locker told The Tennessean that Hunter “is a big-body guy that can run and jump and catches the ball well. He is a guy who can be a dynamic player for us, and we are excited about that.” Locker also raved that Warmack is “a talented guy and a downhill player who brings an attitude.”
However, the Titans will struggle to find production out of Hunter or past first round receivers Kendall Wright and Britt if Locker can’t drastically improve his accuracy in year three. Locker wasn’t considered a finished product coming out eighth overall in 2011 and only had 11 career starts under his belt, so it’s perfectly acceptable to take until year three to start putting it together. Heck, for Eli Manning and Drew Brees it took until year four.
But the fact is that demands on a young quarterback accelerate ever year, and if Locker looks anything like he did down the stretch in 2013 then no one should fault the Titans for moving on to the next option. While Locker can make things happen on the move, you make hay by throwing consistently from the pocket first a foremost — any additional elements are all gravy and fantastic but can’t stand alone.
Locker has the arm and legs both, but is doing neither. Pro Football Focus signature stat Accuracy Percentage (When Under Pressure) ranks him last in the NFL at 43.5 percent over the course of the season, when narrowed (slightly) to quarterbacks who have taken at least 25 percent of their team’s dropbacks. In pure Accuracy Percentage Locker moves up marginally to 29th out of 38.
This must improve in his third season at the pro level.