It's clear that there is a consensus within the Tennessee Titans' organization that Jake Locker can be the cornerstone of the franchise moving forward. However, in spite of the team's evident commitment to Locker, and of all of his potential, an important question still remains; assuming that there is an NFL season in 2011, who will be the starting QB for the Titans?
Few would dispute the fact that Jake Locker possesses the attributes needed to succeed as an NFL QB. Yet if his senior season at Washington is any indication, Locker is far from a polished NFL-ready prospect, in spite of his rare intangible skills and athletic physical tools. In all likelihood, he will require a great deal of patience and development before he can flourish in the NFL.
One would think that these are not luxuries that the Titans can afford to bestow upon a rookie QB, much less one selected in the draft's first round. Yet, if the Titans are serious and thoughtful about setting Locker up for long-term success, they would be wise to avoid the temptation to play him immediately.
With good coaching, time, and clever offensive architecture, Locker should have a legitimate shot at being the Titans' QB of the future. But in the present, the franchise would be better served by investing in a stopgap veteran to run the team's offense while Locker is developed. If the league's labor issues are indeed resolved, and there is a free agency signing period, there are a number of options that the Titans should examine.