WHAT’S THE SITUATION WITH LOCK?
Over the past few weeks of the season, there have been various rumors on Drew Lock and the future of the Broncos at the quarterback position. People have been discussing whether the Broncos should draft a quarterback or stick with Lock. Today, I’m going to show you multiple perspectives on this topic and I will explain my side.
It is obvious that Drew Lock has had his struggles over the course of this year. Let’s recap some of his highlights and lowlights so we can acknowledge and analyze what we’re dealing with.
The Chargers Game: 26/41, 63.41%, 248yds, 3tds, 1int, 94.4qbr
The Falcons Game: 25/48, 52.08%, 313yds, 2tds, 1int, 77.9qbr
The Patriots Game: 10/24, 41.67%, 189yds, 0tds, 2int, 34.9qbr
The Raiders Game: 23/47, 48.94%, 257yds, 1td, 4int, 37.3qbr
Drew Lock’s stats in most games have been mediocre. His highest passing yards game was against the Falcons when he put up 313. His highest passer rating this year is 95 in which he played against the Titans. His stats shouldn’t really “wow” anyone, but I think a lot of people are quick to judge. Now, you may be asking, can we call Lock a good quarterback just because he had 2 good games? The answer is no, we cannot. A good quarterback is defined by performing at a high level on a consistent basis. Does Lock meet that criteria? Well, let’s analyze. Has Drew Lock been playing consistently? His only game below 180 passing yards was against the Steelers when he was injured in the first quarter. Four out of his eight starts, he has had no touchdowns. He totals 11 interceptions having just 2 games without a pick. Lastly, his passer ratings in games jumps all over the place (his highest is 95 and his lowest is 34.9). So, the answer to this question would most likely be: no, he has not been playing consistently. Now, has he been performing highly? Let’s analyze. As I said above, he hasn’t had a game below 180 passing yards with the exception of the Steelers game when he was injured early in the game. He has not had a game above 320 passing yards. He totals 1,767 passing yards (29th), 7 touchdowns (t-18th), 11 interceptions (t-2nd most), 55.6 completion percentage (32nd among starting quarterbacks), and a quarterback rating of 41.1 (30th). Based on these statistics with him only playing 8 out 10 games, I think it’s fair to say that Drew Lock has not been performing highly. So, if Lock is not living up to expectations, why would the Broncos keep him? Doesn’t this analysis make him a bad quarterback?
WHY SHOULD DENVER MOVE ON FROM HIM?
If his stats aren’t showing and we aren’t winning games, why are we still starting Drew? This is a fair point as he has not lived up to expectations this year. If you have watched the Broncos games, you would see that Drew makes some horrible throwing decisions. He’s thrown the second-most interceptions this year. Some of the time, I can’t stand the throwing decisions he makes. So, if Denver was to move on from Drew or move him to the backup quarterback slot, what would they do? What would that mean? How would they benefit from this? Well, as most know, the quarterback class in the NFL Draft this year is quite impressive. It includes guys like Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Kyle Trask, Zach Wilson, Trey Lance, and Mac Jones who are all presumptive first-rounders. So, if Denver was to move on from Lock, they would find it easy to grab a solid quarterback from the draft seeing that they will have an pick around 10 to 15. Trey Lance or Kyle Trask are both elite project quarterbacks that would take time to develop. There are also quarterbacks available for trade or in free agency. The New York Jets will most likely move on from Sam Darnold, who could be a reasonable option for Denver granted they get rid of Lock. According to earlier rumors and inside information, Darnold could be a prominent option if Lock does not pan out. Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions has also been a name that comes up when talking about Denver’s offseason. A trade for Stafford is not far-fetched at all and there have been trade rumors about a possible deal. Overall, if we were to get rid of Lock, we would find it fairly simple to replace him whether it’s a quarterback out of the draft, a quarterback from free agency, or a quarterback that Denver trades for. But, what would happen if we keep Lock? What are reasons to keep Lock?
WHY SHOULD DENVER KEEP HIM?
Drew Lock, given the right situation, could be a really good quarterback. He could be the 2nd-round gem that John Elway (Broncos general manager) was hoping for. This season, he has been put in a not-ideal situation for a young quarterback. We have to take a look at this from his perspective. Lock lost his number one target in Courtland Sutton to a torn ACL in Week 2. Automatically, there goes a lot of reliability in your receivers as the rest of them are rookies or first-time starters. Lock lost his number one tight end, Noah Fant, for a few weeks. Lock was injured and has been constantly injured throughout the year. During the game against the Raiders, he was in constant pain, clutching at his ribs and hunching over. His offensive line has provided under average protection for him causing him to run for his life a lot of the time. The gameplan of Pat Shurmur (Broncos offensive coordinator) has not been ideal for Lock. If you go into the numbers, you’ll see that for 4 games consecutively, Lock threw for over 40 passes. During these 4 games of 40 or more passes, he averages a 56.11 completion percentage which would be the worst in the NFL among starting quarterbacks. However, Shurmur did not realize after the first two games that Lock could not operate at a high level throwing for 40 passes a game. He continued with this gameplan until Week 11 against the Dolphins, where he broke the streak and threw for 30 passes. His completion percentage that game was 60 and he threw for 270 passing yards. Denver also got a win that game which should signify that making Drew Lock throw 40 times is not a good idea or a good gameplan. So, now that we’ve seen his stats and performance from his perspective, let’s imagine that next year, Lock has all his weapons back and is in a good situation. This is what Denver is hoping for: Lock finishes the year strong and goes into next year with a fully healthy offense barring no setbacks. In this situation, Lock will be able to compete much more and will have the capacity to do better and win games. So, immediately judging him on this year, where he has been injured and in an injured offense, should not be what you go to. We should give him a season where he is under a fully healthy and strong offense. Then, I think his stats would look better. I, the fans, and the organization are not expecting him to be a superstar, although some fans do expect that out of the 2nd-year quarterback. We just want him to play at a solid level and win games. That’s all we ask for but we can’t really ask for that with the situation that he’s in. So, what would happen if we kept him? Would we still draft a quarterback? If we kept Drew, we would not draft a quarterback, at least not in the first couple rounds. If we were to draft a quarterback, I would imagine that we take someone like Ian Book or Sam Ehlinger in a later round. However, I would not be shocked if Denver elects to keep Lock and still goes out and picks up Sam Darnold or Matthew Stafford. This move would be solely to motivate Lock to do better and to keep him aware that if he can’t perform at a solid level, there’s always a replacement. I will still support the team no matter what decision we make, but I hope that Denver makes the right decision and elects to bring Lock back as the starter for next year barring any setbacks.
IF DENVER DOESN’T TAKE A QUARTERBACK IN THE FIRST ROUND, WHO DO THEY TAKE?
That’s quite a simple question to answer. We take one of our positional needs which would be a mid-linebacker, a cornerback, or an offensive tackle. I personally like prospects like Caleb Farley (CB, Virginia Tech), Dylan Moses (LB, Alabama), or Alex Leatherwood (OT, Alabama). I think Elway will make the right decision and take a positional need and not a positional want.
A FEW LAST WORDS.
There are a few things that you should remember about Lock before judging him and giving up on him. You should know that this is his 2nd year and Sunday’s matchup against Kansas City will mark his 14th career start. Legendary quarterbacks like Peyton Manning and John Elway performed at a much worse level than Drew at the beginning of their careers, so I think we’re lucky to have him. You should also keep in mind what he’s dealing with. His seat continues to heat up and the fans continue to dislike and give up on him all the while he needs to perform at a high level with no primary target, an under average offensive line, constant injury, and an offensive coordinator that is making him throw the ball 40 times a game. If I’m John Elway, I’m keeping Lock no matter what he does for the rest of the season.