The 2011 draft may be months away, but the Browns' search for their quarterback of the future may have been turned up a notch at last weekend's Stanford-Washington game Saturday night in Seattle.
According to Sports Illustrated's Peter King, there were between 15-20 NFL scouts at the game, won by Stanford 41-0, to see future first-round picks Andrew Luck of Stanford and Jake Locker of Washington. According to King, the Browns ''took the unusual step'' of having two scouts in attendance.
The son of former Houston Oilers quarterback Olver Luck was the standout, completing 19 of 26 for 192 yards and a TD with one interception. Luck also rushed for a 51-yard TD, the second-longest of his career, and recorded a career-high 92 rushing yards.
Locker had a miserable night, completing 7 of 14 for 64 yards with two interceptions. But Washington coach Steve Sarkisian revealed on Monday that Locker had been suffering from a hairline fracture in his rib, initially injured on Oct. 16, that became a crack against the Cardinal.
Here's what ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay had to say about both:
"The chips were stacked in Luck's favor against Locker's Washington squad. Luck is healthier than Locker, has a much better supporting cast and was working against a far more inept defense. Still, Luck left no doubt about who was the top quarterback prospect inside Husky Stadium.
"The third-year sophomore completed 19 of 26 throws for 192 yards and one touchdown, and also rushed five times for 92 yards and a score. Luck's only interception came on a Hail Mary attempt from the 39-yard line on the last play of the first half. His pocket awareness, decisiveness and accuracy (especially in rainy conditions) left a strong impression on the approximately 20 NFL scouts in attendance.''
As for Locker, McShay said, "Yes, Locker was fighting an uphill battle against Stanford, but that doesn't excuse the sloppiness of his performance. Locker completed just seven of 14 passes for 64 yards and was picked off twice. He was under duress most of the evening and his first interception resulted from miscommunication with receiver Jermaine Kearse, but on several occasions Locker had adequate protection and failed to deliver the ball accurately, including an overthrow on his second interception.
"Locker's various injuries are limiting his practice time during the week, which is leading to timing issues during games. Locker has also not appeared as confident in his reads, protection and throws in recent games. At this point it might be wise to give Locker a week off to recover so he can return to a normal practice schedule down the stretch.''
Since then, it was announced that Locker will miss this weekend's game.