With a reported rookie salary pool of $6,255,724 to spend, Jake Locker, and his fellow rookie Titans are about to become very wealthy young men.
Locker, the Titans first round selection in the 2011 NFL Draft was thought to be a reach by many so-called “experts” when the Titans used the 8th overall pick to take him ahead of other more highly ranked quarterbacks.
It’s far too early to know if the media pundits, or the Titans will ultimately be right concerning Locker’s draft position, but one thing is already clear. The Titans got what they wanted in Locker as a person.
Locker was considered a hard worker, great leader and high character person even before the Titans drafted him, and so far he has done nothing to change the minds of the coaches, staff, media or fans that follow the team.
As the lockout continued to grow longer, veteran players Jake Scott and Courtland Finnegan arraigned for the use of Father Ryan High School here in Nashville to hold an impromptu mini-camp for the players who remained locked out of Baptist Sports Park, away from coaches and the regular preparations that normally occur at that point in the off season.
Jake Locker was there, without being under any type contract, and while the workouts were non-contact, it was still a risk for a player to participate in physical activities where an injury might occur. Locker didn’t care; he wanted to be with his new teammates and work to earn their trust and respect.
With the lockout now over, the Titans reopened Baptist Sports Park this morning for the players to begin voluntary workouts. The players were also finally able to get their own copy of the new Titans playbook, and Locker was ready for it.
Media members began a morning vigil to watch the players arrive at the facility for the first time in four months, and for some of the rookies, it would be there first time there. So who was the first Titans player to arrive?
You guessed it, Jake Locker.
The rookie flew cross country yesterday from his home in Ferndale, Washington to be here on time and to be the first player in this morning. Quite a statement from a rookie!
He has already purchased a home in the Nashville area, before even being able to sign his first NFL contract, a ssign that the young man intends to make Nashville, and the Titans his team and home.
Locker, who many so-called “experts” predicted would be the first overall pick had he entered the draft after his junior season, decided to return to the University of Washington for that senior year. It was a move that those same “experts” just one year later thought would cost Locker after a sub-par senior season.
ESPN analyst John Clayton predicted in October of last year that Locker’s disappointing senior campaign might cause him to fall to the 2nd or 3rd round due to his inaccuracy and poor play.
The Titans obviously didn’t believe Clayton, they drafted Locker, and so far he has done everything to prove them right.
Soon he will get the chance to prove it to the rest of the football world when the time comes for him to take the reins of the Titans offense. For now he will be content to learn from the veterans, lead by example with hard work and dedication to the team that took a chance on him, in spite of what the “experts” said.