With the time to sign undrafted free agents nearly upon us, the St Louis Rams have received commitment from a college standout in Texas Tech quarterback Taylor Potts and are rumored to have a commitment from Kentucky running back Derrick Locke. Here is a quick breakdown on the two:
Potts was the latest in a long line of successful quarterbacks in Texas Tech's spread offense. He has good size at 6'5" and 222 lbs to go along with moderate athleticism, and his accuracy is considered above average. However, Potts plays in an offense at Texas Tech that makes many NFL teams shy away from their quarterbacks.
The offense the Red Raiders run revolves around short, quick passes that rely more on precise down-field blocking or receivers springing free from screens. So while Potts impressed with 3,726 passing yards to go along with 35 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions, he only averaged a mere 6.76 YPA.
As far as how he fits into the team, Potts will compete with second-year quarterback Thad Lewis for the third-string quarterback position. Lewis is likely the better option, as he impressed last season all throughout the preseason and played in a spread offense in college far similar to McDaniels' spread than Potts did.
From Tony Pauline at TFYDraft.com
Past Red Raider quarterbacks have been labeled 'system players', and justifiably so, but Potts is ready to break the stereotype. His statistics are gaudy thanks to the wide open offense at Texas Tech, and yet he's proven to be a legitimate next-level prospect. He has the arm strength to throw the deep pass and gets the ball through the tight spots. Potts also offers solid intangibles, quarterback intelligence and uses of all his weapons. Once rated as a free-agent prospect, scouts feel Potts could move into the later rounds next April.
Locke is an exciting player coming out of Kentucky. He is an absolute speed demon who stands at 5'8" and 188 lbs. Locke is the kind of the guy who could be a dangerous change of pace back to Steven Jackson and could be an effective weapon in Josh McDaniels' spread offense. He has reliable hands and can make guys miss in open space.
Despite his ability, he likely won't ever be regarded as an every down back. He lacks the necessary size and it is questionable how well he'd perform if overexposed by St Louis.
Regardless, this is a very interesting signing by the Rams. There is still a very good chance the Rams sign a new running back to be their primary backup such as Darren Sproles, Joseph Addai, etc...
Locke projects as a change-of-pace / third down back who should also bring value on special teams. Does not have the build or power to hold up as a full-time starter but has great quickness, agility, athleticism, awareness and hands. Finds the hole and doesn't leave yards on the field. Decisive and quick to get upfield after picking his spot. A valuable pass-catcher who plucks away from his body, can adjust to a bad throw, and pick up yards after the catch. Technically sound and feisty in pass protection but may struggle against the power rush. Locke carries a mid-round grade.
UPDATE: Now that the period to actually sign UFAs is open, the Rams have signed Taylor Potts. However, Derrick Locke has signed with the Minnesota Vikings.
NEW UPDATE: Locke has failed his physical and is once again a free agent.