In news related to the Dolphins’ search for a potential franchise quarterback, the team is reportedly one of eight ball clubs that is scheduled to hold a private workout with Cam Newton. Of those eight teams, though, all select before the Dolphins’ 15th overall selection.
So unless Jeff Ireland is seriously considering trading up in order to land the Heisman winning quarterback, something I find unlikely already being void of a 2nd round pick, we might want to start assuming that the Dolphins will realistically be in the market for the prospects beyond the top two (Gabbert and Newton).
The third ranked quarterback may vary depending on which draft expert you talk to, but more often than not, you will find Washington’s Jake Locker as the next quarterback in line. Unless Locker’s stock takes a significant boost sometime between now and the draft or unless a top 15 team becomes sold enough on his talent to reach a bit for his services, he still should be on the board when the Dolphins are on the clock.
Now, just because he may be the most realistic option for the Dolphins at pick No. 15, does that mean they should select him by default being in desperate need of a franchise quarterback in a day in age where winning championships is not feasible without one?
Draft Projection: Mid to Late 1st
Pros: Yes, Locker had a disappointing 2010 season, but the skill set he brings to the table was impressive enough for him to be considered the consensus number one overall selection coming into the year. His combination of size and athleticism is about as rare as it gets. Combine his running ability with the arm strength good enough to make any throw in football, and it’s easy to see why his upside is so intriguing.
If you’re looking for a guy who could potentially step in from day one and contribute, Locker may be capable of just that, as he doesn’t project to have a steep learning curve having played in a pro style system at Washington. After witnessing two years of Chad Henne, Locker would also be refreshing change of pace from a leadership standpoint. He’s the type of quarterback that always plays with emotion and has the ability to put a team on his back. Most consider Locker a high risk, high reward prospect, but based on the fact that he was once considered a sure-fire franchise quarterback, the Dolphins may be in position to make the steal of the draft.
Cons: Locker’s athleticism may excite in shorts and a t-shirt this time of year, but on the field, there are few college quarterbacks whose running ability actually translates to the pro game. Sure, he will be able to keep plays alive here and there, and he’ll be able to scramble for a key first down in some key situations, but more than likely, we are only talking about a handful of plays that will be impacted per game. His ability to throw the football is what we should look at under a microscope and hold at a much higher level of importance.
While Locker has the arm strength to make all the throws, his inconsistent accuracy should be a concerning red flag to NFL GMs. He had a tendency to miss open receivers at Washington, and for all the impressive stats he put up, he never once topped a 58% completion percentage. I also thought it was revealing how heavily Locker struggled against some of the better defenses in the country. He only completed 7 passes for a mere 64 yards and threw two picks against Stanford in a 41-0 shellacking. And in two games against Nebraska, Locker went a dreadful 9 for 36 and combined for only 127 yards.