Lombardi: Locker impressive, but still a ‘project’

There’s no shortage of opinions on what type of NFL quarterback Jake Locker will ultimately be, and perhaps not much of a consensus, either. As Bucky Brooks has pointed out, whether Locker has the potential to be a franchise player is one of the internal debates among NFL teams.

NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi got a first-hand look at Locker at Washington’s pro day on Wednesday and left with the same impression he had when he arrived. Locker was accurate and impressive, but ultimately the game tape doesn’t lie.

“I think he’s a project,” Lombardi said. “I think he’s a potential starter. I don’t think you can believe, if you draft Locker, that he can be the guy to come in and turn your franchise around next year. It’s going to take time, and you must have the patience to handle the project to get him to where he is a pro quarterback.”

The “project” label has never been too far removed from Locker. Lombardi wouldn’t take Locker before the third round, a sentiment echoed by Charlie Casserly. In fact, Lombardi would be “shocked” if Locker was a top-10 pick. Draft analyst Mike Mayock, who has Locker  rated as the No. 2 QB in the draft and No. 20 overall on his big board, even calls him “a little bit of a project.”

Here’s a note that might be something or might be nothing: Lombardi observed the lack of decision makers on hand to watch Locker, noticeable given that such workouts usually draw a crowd for likely top-10 quarterbacks. The only head coach among a large contingent of scouts was Pete Carroll of the Seahawks. Interesting, given that Pat Kirwan has the Seahawks taking Locker in the first round at No. 25 overall in his latest mock draft.

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