Jake Locker's Decision To Return To Washington Isn't Bad, but It Is Wrong

Bryan KellySenior Analyst IDecember 14, 2009

SEATTLE - DECEMBER 05:  Jake Locker #10 of the Washington Huskies runs the ball during game against the California Bears on December 5, 2009 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. The Huskies defeated the Bears 42-10. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Among other things, law preaches the difference between something being "bad," i.e. morally or ethically harmful or reprehensible, and "wrong," i.e. logically inconsistent based on the available data.

With that in mind, let no man call Jake Locker's decision to stay at Washington for another year "bad."

It harms no one, and will likely assist the Washington Huskies to another year of improvement after losing every game in 2008. It will definitely help Locker progress as a quarterback in Coach Steve Sarkisian's pro-style system, which will aid him in the examination room when scouts test Locker on his decision-making skills.

Most of all, it sets up an enviable succession plan for Washington's QB situation: The Huskies will also be welcoming Joe Montana's son Nick, a three-star quarterback, to campus next year, and the young Montana will be able to learn behind Locker, and possibly redshirt, his first season.

No, this decision is the furthest thing from "bad" from a Husky's perspective. It might even put UDub in darkhorse contention for a Pac-10 title, after their surprising, if tumultuous, season of growth this year under rookie head coach Sarkisian.

It is definitely a wrong decision, however. That is, it is logically inconsistent with the facts Locker has been presented all year.

The most notable of these is also the most pressing: Sam Bradford. Bradford was projected as the top overall pick last year, boasting salivating physical tools as well as an outstanding mind for football. But he chose to return to Oklahoma for his junior year, setting up the Sooners' most disappointing season in a decade.

Bradford injured his AC joint in a hit during the BYU game, was out four weeks, and returned in time to get painfully sacked by the Longhorns. That hit knocked him out for the remainder of the game and forced season-ending surgery, along with the announcement that he would not return next year.

Like Bradford, Locker was definitely a first-round selection, possibly the first overall quarterback taken, promising monster combine numbers and all of the physical tools, if only half of the necessary experience.

With a similar caveat, physical prowess was still good enough to get Kansas State quarterback Josh Freeman, a similarly gifted quarterback who lacked big-game credentials and a glowing resume, selected in the first round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last year, and he's since won the starting job.

Locker hopefully won't have the same season as Bradford next year. He surely has a sturdier build, and has taken far more sacks, particularly in Washington's 12-loss season.

But the NFL was downright broadcasting it to him that there's nothing more he needs to prove, and he still turned them down.

This, to me, indicates that Locker is still undecided about whether he wants to pursue a pro career in baseball rather than in football. He was already selected to play for the Los Angeles Angels in the 2009 MLB Draft (though the condition was that he be allowed to play football at Washington).

He doesn't project as a better baseball player, but it's possible that he is having his doubts that football is his passion. Deciding between the two sports is a much more difficult decision than many realize.

Still, the wrong decision has already cost him millions of dollars and a to-die-for spot in the draft. Now, prolonged indecision will determine whether we see Jake Locker play in the NFL at all.