Mayock not ‘writing off’ Locker

Jake Locker has found a supporter of sorts in Mike Mayock as the University of Washington quarterback tries to improve his draft status at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis next week.

Mayock, draft analyst for the NFL Network, did a conference-call interview today and many of the questions concerned the number of teams that are in the market for a quarterback and the fact that only four have “first-round ability,” as Mayock put it.

Locker is in that group, along with Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert, Auburn’s Cam Newton and Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett. But Mayock stressed that “first-round ability” does not necessarily translate into the QB becoming a first-round pick or even earning a first-round grade.

“A lot of people are writing him off, and I’m not,” Mayock said. “But I think you’ve got to do a bunch of homework on him.”

In fact, Mayock rates Locker as the second-best QB in this draft class – behind Gabbert, but ahead of the Heisman Trophy-winning Newton.

“He’s got first-round ability, but hasn’t always shown that,” Mayock said of Locker. “That’s a really talented kid who has first-round potential but has struggled in the pocket.”

Asked specifically about the Seahawks and their possible interest in Locker, Mayock offered, “From a quarterback perspective, they’ve got to make some decisions right now, obviously. Matt Hasselbeck is not getting any younger. And (Charlie) Whitehurst had kind of an interesting season. He had some highlights, especially at the end of the year there (in the division-clinching win over the Rams in the regular-season finale). But I don’t think that he answered all the questions.

“So the first thing Pete Carroll and those guys have to decide is: Are they looking at a quarterback there (with the 25th pick in the first round)? … It would be interesting to see what their evaluation of Jake Locker is.”

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