Around the NFC West: Lockette's chance

Around the NFC West: May 24, 2013

Good morning, NFC West. We're heading into this Memorial Day Weekend with no shortage of subject material.

All four teams from the division have been conducting organized team activity (OTA) sessions this week. The St. Louis Rams have a session scheduled for Friday.

A piece from Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News caught my attention. Inman followed up with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and receiver Ricardo Lockette regarding their relationship on and off the field -- a relationship of heightened interest now that Michael Crabtree's injury has put pressure on other wideouts to fill the void.

Seattle Seahawks fans should recall Lockette as the physically gifted prospect who teased them with 61- and 44-yard receptions against NFC West opponents late during the 2011 season. Lockette never showed enough consistency to nail down a position in the receiving rotation. But his raw talent led the 49ers to sign him for their practice squad and eventually the regular roster once Seattle released him.

Lockette's chances for success have never appeared greater. He's living with Kaepernick and, by all accounts, the two are focusing on football all the time. Coach Jim Harbaugh offered unsolicited praise for Lockette a couple months ago, predicting the receiver would make an impact.

"Lockette, 27, has spent the past eight months getting round-the-clock tutoring from Kaepernick, including two months this offseason as they trained in Atlanta with teammates A.J. Jenkins and Chad Hall," Inman reports. "Kaepernick also has found creative ways to help Lockette assimilate with the 49ers' vast and complex playbook, and that includes word association for breaking down plays."

NFL offseasons lend themselves to stories about fringe players trying to make their mark. Few of those fringe players are living with their team's franchise quarterbacks. Few command unsolicited praise from their head coaches. Lockette will never have a better chance than this, most likely.