2011 NFL Mock Draft: Jake Locker vs. Colin Kaepernick

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If you follow us at Optimum Scouting, you'll probably realize that we've had Jake Locker as a 1st round talent all year long, and Colin Kaepernick in the 2nd-3rd round area most of the year, with a slight rise after an impressive Senior Bowl and in seeing and talking with him at Mobile, AL. 

I think both players need work as far as being potential starting quarterbacks in the NFL, but both need work in different areas.

Kaepernick played in a shotgun offense that never really required him to take drops from center and make progressions in his drop back. He had a gunslinging, baseball-like release throughout his career. And, he struggled with having a good feel for the level of velocity he needed to use on outside the hash throws, middle of the field throws, and ones in between zone coverage. Kaepernick has the arm strength, for sure, to come close to or match any in the NFL, and his size (roughly 6'5, and his speed (one of the fastest at the Combine) to be a versatile, "new age" quarterback with time in the NFL.

Locker, on the other hand, hails from the Steve Sarkisian (former USC quarterbacks coach who has coached a few current NFL quarterbacks) offense over the past two years while he was at Washington. That coaching has increased his field awareness both in and outside of the pocket, and he began to improve as a complete passer. His dropbacks are deep, quick, and efficient, and his throwing motion is quick and compact and he has great velocity, albiet not as elite as Kaepernick. But where Locker has shown concerns is with his accuracy across the field. Part of that is him not always playing under control as a passer, part of it is just his lack of vision and throwing accuracy as a thrower, and part of it is the fact that he didn't have any weapons or good blocking around him over his career, resulting in injuries and inconsistencies.

Both quarterbacks could develop into NFL starters sooner rather than later, and I won't say that it's a lock that Locker ends up as a better quarterback than Kaepernick, because after talking with both at the Senior Bowl, it's clear that both have good head's on their shoulders, Kaepernick especially.

But based on throwing ability, development in technique, and overall NFL starting potential, I still think Jake Locker is a 1st round talent. And based on who I've spoken with, I would be very surprised if he leaves the 1st round. Washington and Tennessee are the likely landing spots.  As for Kaepernick, Tennessee, Minnesota, Jacksonville, and Seattle are prime landing spots, and I would be a bit surprised if one of those teams didn't scoop him up in the backside of the 1st round.