Washington QB Jake Locker was interviewed at the NFL Combine yesterday. Locker comes off very well in this interview, and I expect him to shine at the combine because he is a great athlete.
He was asked what current NFL QB he models his game after, and he answered Aaron Rodgers. Good answer.
I didn't realize that Locker started all 4 years at Washington- minus his sophomore year where he broke his thumb in the 4th game of the season. The Huskies finished 0-12 that season, so Locker has seen his fair share of adversity.
Locker did say that it is a great year to be in the draft because so many teams need quarterbacks- of course had he come out last year he probably would have been the #1 overall pick and made a lot more money.
After the jump is a full transcript of his interview from yesterday as well as a highlight video from his senior year.
Q: Have you been asked anything outlandish?
Locker: Nothing out of the ordinary. Interviews went well. Like I said, kind of informal. Getting to know some of the position coaches and giving them a better idea who you were and kind of what their team was about.
Q: Which of your skills stand out the most compared to the rest of the quarterbacks in this class?
Locker: You know, it's just like every year. There's a lot of very talented football players that are in this class, all different in their own way. I bring a little bit of athleticism, allow myself to improvise a little bit, which some of the other quarterbacks can do as well. I don't think there's anything that really is a big difference between some of the other guys that are in this class.
Like I said, there's a lot of very talented players and a lot of guys that will be very impressive out here this week.
Q: How tired are you of hearing about your accuracy?
Locker: It's something I knew coming into this. It would be one of the big points of questions so I was prepared for it and ready for it.
Q: Are you looking forward to the opportunity to show that's wrong.
Locker: Yeah, definitely. I think any competitor would be lying to you if he told you he wasn't.
Q: What have you taken from this past season at Washington? What did you gain from sticking with the school.
Locker: As a player and as a person, I'm a lot more prepared for this process. Doing things like this, going through this process and being comfortable going through it. I don't think I would have been as prepared for it last year. To be able to go out and go through the workouts and have confidence in what I was doing personally. I feel a lot better after having another year playing with the coaches that I did and the system that I did. I'm very thankful for that.
Q: Anyone you've reached out to, current NFL players, to help guide you through this experience?
Locker: Yeah, I signed with Athletes First. It's a great agency and they have a lot of good connections so I have been ble to talk to a lot of guys that they represent now and have represented in the past. Kind of ask them, and get an idea of what the process is like and kind of what to expect.
Q: Do you understand the process in terms of how they're breaking down every aspect, breaking down every flaw in your game, interviewing friends that you haven't talked to in 10 years.
Locker: Yeah, I'm a fan of football so I've watched this for as many years as it has been on TV. I understand that it's a great opportunity to come showcase what you can do, but you also open yourself up to criticism. But I think that that's part of this process. It's something you have to get comfortable with: playing under a microscope. Because it's going to be the same way when you end wherever team you end up with or whatever city you end up in. Expectations are going to be high, and you've got to find a way to keep yourself grounded and block that stuff out and have confidence in who you are and in the player you are.
Q: You said, you're a fan of football. In your opinion, how many teams need a starting quarterback, and in your opinion is this a good year to be a quarterback?
Locker: I believe it's a really good year to be a quarterback. You look at the draft, I think there's a good number of teams that will be looking at quarterbacks to draft or pick up in some way. So I think it's a good year to be able to come out and showcase what you can do and what you can bring to an organization.
Q: Who have you talked with?
Locker: We had informals last night and talked with pretty much everybody. So we start our formal interviews tonight and tomorrow.
Q: Are you concerned you might get drafted and not meet with your coaches and your teammates for a couple months because of this labor issue?
Locker: Right now, I'm going to control what I can. I think everybody will tell you the same thing. We're going to be as prepared for this process as we can, do as well as we can here in the next few days and then from here, go get ready for our pro days, do well there, put our best foot forward and deal with those things as they come. Stay prepared to play and whenever we get that opportunity, be ready for it.
Q: At this point, what is your biggest strength and what is your biggest weakness?
Locker: I think that to be able to bring good character into a locker room. Somebody that guys can trust and believe in. And then I also believe that I also have the opportunity to kind of improvise, create with my legs and extend plays, give guys the opportunity to work downfield. One thing - it's no secret, I don't think to anybody - moving in the pocket and throwing in the pocket is something that I'm working on and will continue to work on.
Q: Who are you going to work with up until your pro day, are you working with any special previous athletes?
Locker: Working with Ken O'Brien right now in Irvine, Calif. I'll be down there for a couple more weeks before I head up to Seattle, throw with the receivers I'm going to throw with on Pro Day. There, I'll be working with Coach Sark and Coach (Doug) Nussmeier.
Q: When is your Pro Day?
Locker: March 30
Q: How much pride do you take in being a two-year captain?
Locker: I think that the cool part about our captain system is it's voted on by our players. So it says a lot when the guys pick you for that position. It was an honor for me, something I was very proud of.
Q: The combine, you've watched it on TV and now you get to go through it. Is it fun?
Locker: Yeah, it is. Like I said, I'm a fan of this game and I always have been. To be a part of this process that I enjoyed watching so much as a kid, it's a cool opportunity. It's one that I'm not trying to let slip through my hands. It's something I'm trying to enjoy and have fun with because there's a lot of people that I think would like to be in this position so I don't want to dread it or make it seem like it's something I have to do because it's I get to do. It's a privilege and I'm really excited about it.
Q: Is there a skill set, or some drill, that you're looking forward to the most?
Locker: No, I just think the whole thing, the whole day. Being able to get out there and watch other guys compete and then go out and compete against them. There's a lot of really good athletes here that bring a lot in all the different drills that we'll have come Sunday. It will be fun to watch those guys work and work with them.
Q: Is there a quarterback currently in the league who you've closely modeled your game after?
Locker: I enjoy watching Aaron Rodgers play. I think he's a very talented quarterback, who also has the ability to kind of extend plays with his feet. He's very good moving, and making throws on the run and is a good guy. A guy that plays hard, has a passion for the game that is undeniable in my opinion and I respect that.
Q: Coaches criticize quarterbacks who don't eat, sleep and breathe the game. What's your makeup, what's your appetite for that type of dedication?
Locker: I love the game of football. Like I said, I've been watching this stuff, this process, since I was a little kid. I watched games on Saturday and Sunday with my Dad since I was really little. It has been something that has always been a part of my life. I'm very passionate about it. It means a lot to me, and I'm going to put the work in it takes to be successful.
Q: Will you take part in all the events?
Locker: I'll do everything but lift.
Q: At what point did you realize you were a pro prospect?
Locker: When I got invited to the Senior Bowl, had the opportunity to go to play there. And when I got the opportunity to come here and showcase my talents I think was when that was solidified for me as a player. There's always speculation, but you kind of have a good idea. It's an honor to be at something like this, and not everybody gets this opportunity so when you're invited, it's pretty neat.
Q: You said it's a good year to be a quarterback, where do you see yourself fitting in with this group of quarterbacks? It's kind of difficult to rank.
Locker: Your guess is as good as mine. Like I said, I'm going to control what I can. I'm going to go out and be as prepared for every step of this process as I can. Have fun with it, enjoy it and show all the teams who I am both on and off the field. Wherever that puts me, I'd be happy to go to any team that wants to draft me.
Q: The intangibles - the ability to handle adversity - that's so big at the next level at that position. Where do you feel like you stand on those things?
Locker: It wasn't the easiest career for me at Washington. We had to go through a lot of adversity, and to be able to finish the way we did, and come out with a Holiday Bowl victory, third in the Pac-10 last year, things I'm very proud of and I think that our football team should be very proud of.
It was fun to be a part of. It was very rewarding, to go through an 0-12 season and two years later to finish that way. So like I said, I'm very proud of that. Something I'll keep with me the rest of my life, and it's very fulfilling.
Q: Has it been difficult through this process to hear flaws, people making criticisms?
Locker: No, no. I think that it's stuff that's fixable, and I'm working on it. Just trying to get better every day.
Q: In your mind, have you closed the door on baseball forever?
Locker: I'm a football player and that's what my focus has been. I've been honest, up front with them about that. Football is where my heart is.
I love the game. I love playing the game. As long as I have an opportunity to play football, I'm gonna'.
Q: What do you hope to run in the 40-yard dash?
Locker: I guess we'll see on Sunday.