2019 NFL DRAFT PREVIEW: Drew Lock – QB, Missouri
There have been boatloads written about the chances that Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray will be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Tons penned about the potential suitors for Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins. But as Herbie Toepe reported for NFL.com from this year’s scouting combine, Missouri’s Drew Lock isn’t ready to concede that he’s not the best prospect in this draft class at football’s most important position.
“I think every quarterback is going to tell you they’re No. 1, so I’m going to sit here and tell you I’m No. 1,” Lock said. “It’s not my job to go and critique quarterbacks; I just know a lot about me. “I know that I’ve been through a certain amount of adversity at the University of Missouri that will get me ready for the NFL. I know I’m athletic enough to be in the NFL and I’m going to prove that. I know that I have the arm strength to play, I can make any throw on the field and I know I have the creativity out of the pocket to make plays when the pocket breaks down. I’m just a really confident guy.”
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Drew Lock Believes He’s the Top QB Prospect in the 2019 Draft Class
Lock isn’t alone in that assessment. Draftnik Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports ranked Lock as this year’s top prospect under center—ahead of Murray and Haskins.
“Lock is my top quarterback prospect for many reasons,” Trapasso said. “He has loads of experience, and I noticed clear-cut improvements with his accuracy — which still needs some work — pocket presence, and decision-making in 2018, particularly down the stretch. Also, he has high-end arm strength for the NFL level and rarely is afraid to make a throw down the field through a tight window. Plus, he’s a good athlete.”
As Kyle Frederickson reported for the Denver Post, Colorado head coach Mel Tucker (who coached against Lock at Georgia) agrees that Lock’s arm talent is as good as any signal-caller in this year’s crop.
“His arm talent is off the charts,” Tucker said. “He’s a competitor. He’s a guy that if you make a mistake defensively, he can hurt you. He throws a really nice deep ball and I definitely think he’s an NFL talent. I think he’ll have a really good NFL career.”
Mike Farrell of Rivals.com wasn’t quite ready to rank Lock as the No. 1 quarterback in the Class of 2019. But after a solid draft season and collegiate career that saw Lock pass for 12,193 yards and 99 touchdowns with the Tigers, he did slot the 6’4″, 228-pounder at No. 2—ahead of Haskins.
“I like Lock a lot, especially his arm strength and his delivery,” Farrell said. “He looked very good at the combine and has improved his footwork greatly. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he turns out to be the best quarterback in this draft class because he brings so much to the table. He’s bigger than Murray and Haskins. He’s not mobile but he has a great feel in the pocket and he sees the field well. He’s also been tested in the SEC and he has a ton of maturity. I’d take Murray first because of his athleticism, but I like Lock better than Haskins.”
Draft Wire’s Gavino Borquez echoed many of those same sentiments, while allowing that Lock’s footwork and decision making need work.
“Lock has a very strong arm with the ability to make all the throws into tight windows'” he wrote. “He gets the ball out of his hand quickly, and takes advantage defenses. A better athlete than people realize, he can create yards on the ground if necessary. He has some gunslinger in him and he’s willing to take chances to make a big play, and is at his best throwing back shoulder tosses to the sideline.”
“He will require mechanical work,” Borquez continued, “but he checks boxes for his size, athleticism, arm talent, and appetite for football. His pro transition will require a little time, and although he might not be perfect in every area, the ingredients are there for Lock to develop into an NFL starter, ideally in a vertical passing offense.”
There may be some debate where Lock slots among this year’s quarterbacks, but there’s little doubt that he’ll be selected in the first round on April 25. Matt Miller of Bleacher Report expects Lock to go 10th overall to the Denver Broncos, where he’d serve as the heir apparent to Joe Flacco.
“(John) Elway knows he has to win this season to keep the heat off his seat,” Miller said. “Flacco and the veterans allow for the Broncos to improve enough to win, but they can also draft the quarterback of the future in Drew Lock. Call this Denver’s Alex Smith-to-Patrick Mahomes plan. Lock is a strong-armed quarterback who can make every throw imaginable but did struggle at times with accuracy. If the Broncos want to sit him for a year to iron out his wrinkles before getting him onto the field in 2020, this is a sound pick.”
Over at Touchdown Wire, Doug Farrar believes that Lock will fall just a bit farther, slotting him to the Washington Redskins with the 14th overall pick.
“Obviously, the Redskins’ quarterback situation is in flux,” Farrar said. “We don’t know what Alex Smith’s future looks like, and to say that a quarterback combination of Case Keenum and Colt McCoy is underwhelming is to undersell the word. Both are journeymen at best, and even if Smith does come back in 2020 from his injuries, he’s pushing the wrong side of his thirties at that point. Lock would be an excellent bridge quarterback for head coach Jay Gruden—he’s got the best combination of arm talent and mobility of anyone in this class not named Kyler Murray, and his occasional head-scratching decisions and mechanical flaws can be dealt with over time.”
Both of those landing spots have one thing in common—Lock wouldn’t be asked to start right away. And in many respects, that might be for the best—Lock’s iffy footwork, sketchy decision-making at times and so-so performances against high-end SEC teams are legitimate warts that will need to be addressed.
Of course, that also means that Lock is essentially a non-factor in redraft fantasy football leagues—although that’s hardly rare where rookie quarterbacks are concerned.
In dynasty formats, things are murkier. The reality is that there isn’t a runaway, no-doubt top fantasy rookie at the position in 2019. There also isn’t much of a gap separating Haskins and Lock, regardless of which side of that argument you come in on. Both quarterbacks have strengths and weaknesses—Haskins is a more accurate passer less prone to poor decisions. Lock’s more athletic than Haskins and has arguably the better pure arm talent.
Personally, heading into the 2019 NFL Draft, Lock is my No. 3 rookie quarterback in fantasy football. But it isn’t a distant third, and depending on the situations that Murray, Haskins, and Lock find themselves in to begin their NFL careers, a shakeup of that pecking order is a real possibility.
A member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and Pro Football Writers of America who resides in Columbus, Ohio, Gary Davenport has been featured on a number of fantasy websites and in nationally circulated publications, including the USA Today Fantasy Football Preview and the magazines distributed by Fantasy Sports Publications Inc., for whom Gary is both a contributing author and associate editor. Gary is an eight-time FSWA Award finalist and two-time winner who has been a finalist for that organization’s Fantasy Football Writer of the Year award each of the last three years. He won the honor in 2017. Gary also appears regularly on Sirius XM Radio (including live from Radio Row at Super Bowl XLIX) and over-the-air stations across the country. He knows football. Or so he’s heard.
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