And we’re off.
I heard some interesting comments about evaluating the quarterback position as it pertains to the Seattle Seahawks.
Seattle likely will not have an opportunity to draft Stanford’s Andrew Luck or Baylor’s Robert Griffin III because they’re too far down in the first round at No. 11 or No. 12 overall, depending on the coin flip with Kansas City on Friday.
However, I talked to Tennessee general manager Ruston Webster about selecting Jake Locker with the team’s No. 8 overall pick in 2011. The Titans were in a similar situation last year as Seattle is in this year, with Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert projected to go in the top five.
Newton of course went No. 1 overall to Carolina, but the Titans had the opportunity to select Gabbert and ultimately passed, selecting Locker instead even though several draft analysts had the University of Washington product as a late first-round pick.
Webster, a former Seahawks personnel executive, said it’s important to trust your evaluation process and not worry about what everyone else believes.
“We had Jake rated high,” Webster said. “And the one thing we’re going to always do is trust our scouts, and our own grades. And we feel like we put a lot of work into it, whether it’s the quarterbacks, defensive line or offensive line – whatever. We’re going to trust our own grades and go with what we know.”
Webster said overall the team was pleased with the way former Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck performed in his first season with Tennessee, helping to lead the Titans to a 9-7 record and just barely missing the playoffs.
“I thought he played really well,” Webster said. “And I thought he made a difference for us, just in his ability to run the team. He had some great games, especially early. When we lost Kenny Britt, had we not had him (Hasselbeck) I think it would have been really difficult.”
Now the Titans have a difficult decision. Hasselbeck is in the second year of a three-year, $20 million deal, while Locker is the quarterback of the future and needs to play.
Hasselbeck has a non-guaranteed base salary of $5.5 million 2012.
Tennessee head coach Mike Munchak said Hasselbeck will go into the upcoming season as the starter, but there will be an open competition.
“The negative side is you can’t play both of them at the same time, so you do you make two guys happy when they’re that competitive,” Munchak said. “I think that is the tough part. And neither one of them want the job handed to them. They want to compete for it, and we’ll try to do the best we can when we start in May and June and when we get to training camp, is to put them into situations where they truly are competing.
“And hopefully it becomes obvious who the best guy is to lead the team.”
So how do you balance a quarterback’s measurables like height, arm strength and athleticism versus someone with good intangibles like Boise State’s Kellen Moore?
“I think 32 teams are battling that right now right?” San Francisco general manager Trent Baalke said. “And you’re looking at the film, and you’re looking at the stats, the production and the winning. And what the most important thing for a quarterback to do – it’s to win games, find a way to win and lead their team to victory.
“And Kellen’s done it better than anybody in the history of college football. And so that has to mean something. What it means to me is different to what it means to the next person. But you’re certainly taking a look at what they’ve done in the past, because it’s usually a pretty good indicator of what they’re going to do in the future.”