Does a new head coach want to begin with a clean slate and draft his own franchise quarterback? Whisenhunt isn’t ready to make a commitment to Locker. Although Locker has made noticeable progress during his first three NFL seasons, he hasn’t been able to shrug off the nagging injuries that have affected him since his freshman season at the University of Washington.
Whisenhunt admits that he knows little about Locker. He did see him when Locker led a Week 3 game-winning touchdown drive against the San Diego Chargers.
Locker will become a free agent after the 2014-15 season. At the least, there’s no doubt that Locker will remain as a No. 2 quarterback. Whether Locker wins a starting job will largely depend on two factors:
- How Whisenhunt feels about Locker in his offensive system
- Does Whisenhunt have his eye on any particular quarterback, and would that quarterback fall to No. 11
A 2014 third-round pick was traded when the Titans acquired Justin Hunter in last season’s draft. That decreases the probability for any trade-up scenarios. Making a trade-up scenario even more unlikely is that this team has a lot of voids to fill with a first-year coaching staff, especially on the defensive front.
Whisenhunt knows all too well about finding the right quarterback. After Kurt Warner retired, the Cardinals went from a Super Bowl contender to a cellar dweller. Whisenhunt was trying to win with players such as Derek Anderson, Kevin Kolb, Max Hall and John Skelton.
Don’t expect Whisenhunt to pass up on a quarterback if he really believes that he’s the man for his system. At the same time, don’t expect him to rush into this decision. Worst case scenario is that he uses 2014 as a way to evaluate Locker. Then if it doesn’t work out, find someone in the 2015 NFL Draft.
If I had to guess, Locker gets one more opportunity. He may have to compete for his starting job with another mid-round selection. Only if Whisenhunt loves another quarterback at No. 11 will this team bite on one with the highest pick.
IF Whisenhunt isn’t sold on Jake Locker AND loves quarterback at No. 11: Very High