So there have been a lot of comments about what Steve Young thinks about Andrew Luck and Jake Locker from a KNBR radio interview. I think he has been misunderstood a bit...people have posted that he said Locker is not NFL material and things like that, but I got a hold of the audio and what he really said is that Luck does things that an NFL quarterback does, like reading the safety properly, and that Jim Harbaugh has done an "excellent job" of showing him how to do that. Now, Steve Young stated that Jake Locker is "just the opposite" in that regard...he does not show the NFL polish that Luck shows. Steve Young also stated that Locker is less of a project than Tim Tebow.
So, Locker has all the physical tools to be a top NFL player, but he doesn't have any of the polish and doesn't do the things that a Matt Ryan does yet.
During the interview, he stated that Matt Ryan is the model for an NFL prospect, but Steve Young did not fit that model. In fact, Steve looked more like Locker than anyone else. He made all of his plays with his athletic ability and had a very low completion percentage as a result. In his only full USFL season, he had a 55% completion percentage and a 64 quarterback rating...nothing changed in Tampa or his first few years in San Francisco until he "got it" and started making those reads in '89.
Steve Young came out of a gimmicky run and shoot type offense at BYU run by Lavelle Edwards and Norm Chow -- he didn't make those kinds of reads despite putting up gaudy numbers. So Steve knows what it takes to make it in the NFL because he wasn't making the right decisions and NFL reads until he was 28 years old.
But there is no reason to say that a player who does not make those reads in college will not in the NFL...I am surprised Young said that since that is his own experience. If Harbaugh can teach Luck to make an NFL-caliber read, he can teach Locker as well. And combined with his unique physical talents (super strong arm, incredibly mobile, and perfect mechanics -- holds the ball high and comes out over the top very quickly), Locker will shine.
So if we take locker, it is essential that Harbaugh teaches him 'right' -- and that may require a veteran quarterback. McNabb does NOT want to tutor a young quarterback -- he still wants to play. Neither will Orton. So the best option is Matt Hasselback, who looked great against the Saints -- Locker can step in and get a little bit of playing time as a rookie if/when Hasselback gets injured. Hasselback also knows the division like the back of his hand, and would be a huge asset in that regard
[ Edited by nickbradley on Jan 10, 2011 at 6:09 AM ]