It didn’t take long for the first major surprise to happen in the 2011 NFL Draft. It happened at pick number eight with the Tennessee Titans and Jake Locker. Heading into the draft, the belief was that Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert were the top two quarterback prospects and a handful of other guys, including Locker were battling for that third spot. Tennessee obviously didn’t see it that way.
Even though Locker was considered to be a top ten pick at one time last year, he didn’t play that way during his final season in Washington. He struggled with accuracy all season long and he just never looked like a player who was worthy of being drafted in the top ten. While part of the reason for his struggles had to do with the talent around him up in Husky land, it also had to do with the fact that all in all he just wasn’t very good.
However, with the Titans moving on from the Vince Young experiment that blew up in their face, they wasted no time trying to get a new face of the franchise. The quarterback is the most important position in the NFL and you have to have one to consistently compete in the league, but I’m not sure the Titans actually have theirs. While I believe Locker will be a better pro than he was in college, there are just far too many questions and not enough good play to say he was worthy of the eighth pick in the draft.
Jake Locker joined ESPN Radio with Ryen Russillo to talk about when he knew he was going to be a Tennessee Titan, what he has to do to become a good quarterback in the NFL, whether or not the thought of playing quarterback in the NFL is intimidating, and what he has heard on what the team expects from him.
When he knew he was going to be a Tennessee Titan:
“When I got the call. No. I had gone through a lot of the portion of this process with them from the Senior Bowl to the Combine, to a personal workout and then a visit out here. I knew there was some interest. I just didn’t know there was enough to take me with that number eight pick.”
What he has to do to be ready for the next level:
“I think coming in and the mental aspect as much as the physical. Hard work doesn’t apply to just coming in and making sure you’re working hard in the weight room and on the field, but making sure you’re spending time in the film room with the playbook and really understanding what you’re doing mentally because I think that what you’re asked to do at this level mentally is a lot more. Being able to master that and be really comfortable with that is going to be one of the biggest parts of the puzzle I believe.”
Whether or not it is a little intimidating:
“No. It’s another opportunity to play football. It’s a challenge no doubt, but it’s one that I really look forward to and I can’t wait for this process to begin.”
What he has heard that the team wants for him:
“I think you come in and do like you said earlier, work hard and lay a good foundation. Make sure the guys understand that it means something to you and that you’re willing to give them what they’re giving you. Come in and show them it means something to you. Throughout that process when you consistently do that, that’s when you build the trust of your teammates. Not necessarily by what you say or how you talk to them, but more of what you show them. What’s your attitude is like and your willingness to come in and get better.”
On him making a statement by beating Chris Johnson in a foot race:
“If it could be executed it would be a great plan, but I don’t know if there’s anyone in the league that could do that.”
Listen to Jake Locker on ESPN Radio here (Audio begins 35:35)