The second bye week opens up discussion on the future of Jake Locker at Washington. We are all aware that Jake has one more year of eligibility but ever since the USC game he has been the object of affection for draft guru's such as Mel Kiper. The real NFL Scouts have been keeping an eye on him too. This isn't a great year for QB's so even a guy who has led his team to victory in 3 of 10 games this season is getting the full look over.
Coach Sarkisian has kept reporters who have asked about Jake's future at bay this season saying those discussions and decisions will be made after the season is over. This week he was a little more open about it and shared his feelings on the process.
"Well I think this with that decision and there is obviously going to be a lot more talk about that after our last two games are done but with every quarterback from a maturation standpoint you always benefit from coming back and every NFL scout and executive will tell you the same thing."
He was asked point blank if Jake Locker was ready for the NFL and he replied diplomatically:
"Yeah, sure, he's ready. Everybody is ready to some degree.''
Would Jake be leaving money on the table if he returns for a senior season?
"The challenge is the risk-reward you take and where all that fits is the challenge. Because a lot of times you think coming back you might be losing money in a sense but in a sense you might be making a lot of money, too. If you think about it, if you come back your senior year and you go from an end of the first round draft pick to a top 3 draft pick you make yourself $25 to $30 million dollars.That's really what you play for your senior year...you made that money. There is a lot of things that go into it. We'll assess it after the year and I think Jake is a bright young man who is patient. He's got two tremendous parents that have raised him extremely well and we'll get all the proper information in place and he'll make a really good decision in what's best for he and his family and not just the immediate but for his future as well."
Lets talk a little about the actual reality of the situation. Anyone who has seen Jake play this season will tell you that he needs another year to get ready for the NFL. His mechanics aren't close to being there yet. The game still hasn't slowed down for him. He thinks too much rather than acting instinctively. At times like during the Oregon State game he looks like a deer in the headlights when faced with adversity. His statistics have steadily declined every single game since USC.
OK...so we all agree Jake needs another year to hone his skills but what about all that money? I think if Jake is projected to go in the top ten picks he is gone period. There just isn't a lot of top flight QB talent in the draft this season and everyone realizes Jakes future potential. The question is whether an NFL team thinks it is worth a high draft pick to bet on that potential coming to fruition a couple of years down the road. No matter where he is drafted he isn't a ready to play talent.
A lot of people out there are saying the the biggest recruit Sark has to secure for 2010 is Jake Locker. A smaller number are saying that maybe it is best for the program and Jake to part ways in much the same way Brock Huard did when there was a coaching change in the late 1990's.
I don't agree with the smaller number. I think anytime that you have a fifth year senior lining up behind center it is a good thing. I think Jake could really benefit from another year at Washington. He already has baseball money in his pocket so it isn't like he is the usual impoverished college student. If Jake spends another year being tutored by Sark and Nuss he has the opportunity to be special in 2010 and beyond.
In the NFL you can make a lot of money being drafted in the top five. You make even more money on your second and third contracts. No matter where Jake is drafted there is no guarantee for immediate playing time or those valuable second and third contracts. He isn't going to get the experience he needs sitting on the bench a couple of years.
I think Jake has unfinished business at Washington. Jake needs to leave UW as a finished QB who has led his team to a winnning record and a bowl game. When Jake gets drafted he needs to be able to compete for an NFL starting job. Only another year at Washington will accomplish that goal.
Bye Week Notes
Cameron Elisara and EJ Savannah won't be practicing this week. The coaches are hoping they will be ready to play against WSU.
The Huskies will practice three days this week then the coaches will hit the recruiting trail returning on Sunday.
Most of the emphasis this week will be on the younger players which gives the older guys a chance to rest up and get ready for WSU.