There are few things that peeve Oregon fans more than Jake Locker hype.
Tim Tebow became the first sophomore ever to win the Heisman trophy, led the Gators to a national championship, finished his career with 10 times as many touchdowns as interceptions, and he was still considered a massive reach for the Broncos in the first round.
Locker, on the other hand, only has two more career wins than Tebow had losses, yet the St. Louis Rams were champing at the bit to draft him first overall and hand him $50 million guaranteed. All because scouts think his abilities translate better to the NFL. Or something like that.
Why do I bring this up?
Earlier this afternoon, former Ole Miss quarterback Jevan Snead was cut from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
A reader brought up Snead as a comparison to Locker — and it makes sense.
Snead was a media darling entering the 2009 season. Nearly every publication in the country — including ESPN and Sports Illustrated — projected him as a Heisman favorite.
He was a top recruit and Texas Longhorns transfer. He had a rare combination of speed, arm strength and accuracy. And his team seemed to have enough supporting pieces to enable him a special season. But just a year earlier, Snead posted a 56% completion rate, 13 INTs and 20 sacks. Not exactly Heisman-hype worthy numbers.
In what shouldn’t have come as much of a shock, Snead crumbled up the pressure and never lived up to the expectations. Then Snead decided to cut his losses, enter the NFL draft, and hope teams would think more about his pre-2009 hype than his on-field production. He didn’t get drafted.
Does this sound like a possible scenario for our rival to the north?
Locker hasn’t proven he can do anything — except induce the salivary glands of NFL scouts with his athleticism. But then again, scouts salivated over JaMarcus Russell, Tony Mandarich and even our very own Akili Smith.
All I’m saying is, while Locker would need an impressively bad season of epic proportions to not get drafted, no one deserves to be a guaranteed No. 1 pick without proving productive on the field.
Locker should have entered the draft last April (his stock will never be higher), Snead probably should have stayed another year to revamp his draft stock– and in a weird twist of fate, Snead’s decision allowed Ole Miss to make room for Jeremiah Masoli.
Washington fans are hoping that Snead’s misfortune isn’t a sign of things to come. I couldn’t be hoping the opposite any harder.