After an up and down year Jake Coker put an exclamation point at the end of the 2015 season by winning the National Championship Game against Clemson. Coker shook off a bad first half with four sacks and came back after halftime to throw two touchdown passes to OJ Howard to lift the Tide to the National Title.
Coker lost his starting job early in the year but bounced back and took over under center for good after Cooper Bateman and the offense self-destructed against Ole Miss in September. Coker’s numbers weren’t spectacular but they didn’t have to be when Derrick Henry is in the backfield taking handoffs. He was good down the stretch and made plays when he had to to beat Tennessee and Clemson in some close games.
Coker came to Alabama two years ago after losing the starting job to Jameis Winston at Florida State. Blake Sims won the starting job in 2014 over Coker and he had to wait until last season to takeover. He has been labeled as a game manager but did a lot in the second half against Clemson to dispel that. AJ McCarron had the same stigma but showed this year and in the Bengals loss to Pittsburgh that he was capable of making big plays in big games.
The big question is where does Jake Coker get drafted? Most draft analysts have him as a third to fifth round pick. The draft is top heavy in the QBs this year with Jared Goff, Paxton Lynch, Christian Hackenburg and Connor Cook all being considered first round picks. Should some of them slide and NFL teams reach for other positions it could impact where Coker winds up.
Coker is going to get a shot on an NFL roster as a back-up QB. We saw McCarron step when his number was called when Andy Dalton went down in December. A team like Indianapolis might give Coker a look in the latter rounds. We saw how the team did when Andrew Luck went down early in the season. The team tried to tread water with Matt Hasselbeck but the Colts didn’t have enough on defense to stop other teams. Coker could thrive in Indianapolis learning behind Luck. If given time to learn the offense he could step in if Luck went down late and keep the team going.
Ultimately a lot will play out between now and the draft and players will rise and fall. But with so many QBs coming out this year Coker won’t be picked very high. We will have to tune in in April to see just where he goes.