2011 NFL Draft Recap: Jake Locker to the Tennessee Titans Is Justifiable
Jake Locker may not have been the obvious choice with the eighth pick, but the quarterback was certainly a sensible pick for a franchise in turmoil.
The Titans had to be subjective, not objective with this pick.
Throw away Locker's questionable accuracy, unimpressive stats and predicted draft free-fall.
The Titans needed a golden boy, and they may have found him.
The Titan offense can run itself to a degree, with a perennial 1,000-yard rusher in Chris Johnson and a true No. 1 receiver in Kenny Britt.
Britt may have had low statistic totals this year, but remember that missing time (12 games played) contributed to a lack of production for the receiver.
Chris Johnson had a "down year" by rushing for 1,364 yards and 11 touchdowns—he is still a top running back despite falling off the face of the earth in comparison to 2009 totals.
What this all means is that the Titans aren't a team dependent on fantastic quarterback play for good offensive production.
Certainly, many changes have taken place in the organization, but this is still a talented team with the potential to have a huge rebound season.
What is the most important attribute for a quarterback to possess in Tennessee?
The Titans may have finished a dismal 6-10, but the team finished with an average 22.2 points per game, ranking 17th in the league.
A season in which they cross the .500 winning percentage threshold is certainly not out of reach.
The Titans are a well-built team with inconsistent quarterback play.
Digressing to the point of the article, Locker isn't a terrible pick by any means.
Rather, the Titans showed that their offense runs effectively when it integrates spread concepts by stretching the field and utilizing athleticism at quarterback.
Locker is undoubtedly athletic and has an acceptable arm for a system that only requires its quarterbacks to make good reads, hit on some deep throws and hand the ball off.
The Titans have brought in quarterbacks with one common trait—strong arms.
Kerry Collins and Vince Young are two strong-armed quarterbacks, and Locker is no different.
In addition to arm strength, the Titans needed an athletic quarterback.
In 2009, Chris Johnson rushed for over 100 yards in 10 out of 10 games that Vince Young started, and three out of seven games that Kerry Collins (a much less mobile quarterback) started.
Johnson's success can be attributed to Young's athleticism making defenses wary of his ability to be a dual threat, and the Titans were able to keep continuity behind center with another athlete.
Beyond that, Locker is a leader.
Locker has fantastic intangibles, and the Titans need a true leader to help the team escape the depths of the AFC South.
Locker can be the golden boy quarterback in Tennessee with the big arm, the fast legs and the winning smile.
Certainly, Locker isn't ready to grasp an NFL offense right away, and the Titans need to ease the young quarterback in by benching him in his first year.
It may have adverse effects on the team's win-loss record, but the long-term positives outweigh the short-term negatives.
Tennessee didn't need a great quarterback to have success, but they may have just gotten one.
Jake Locker may just be great.
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