Drew Lock NFL Draft Profile
School: University of Missouri
Weight: 223 Pounds
Drew Lock NFL Draft Profile
Top 3 Player Traits
Quarterback Drew Lock has many qualities that you look for in a young prospect. There are also some aspects of his game that need to be improved. That is the beauty of this process.
When his name is called on draft day, it doesn’t ensure that he’ll have a bust in Canton one day, or a Gold Jacket hanging in his closet. It does not ensure that he’ll have the ability to play for the hallowed Lombardi Trophy. It doesn’t even sure that he will start or play a down in the NFL. But it does ensure one thing, that he will have the opportunity to improve his craft and join a brotherhood that so many crave.
What his skillset says is that he is ahead of the curve, a curve so narrow that only 32 men chart the course, and many of those falter and waiver. So what is it that makes him worthy of this opportunity?
Arm Strength And Deep Ball Accuracy
Arm strength and the ability to throw the deep ball may go hand in hand, but they are not necessarily the same thing. Josh Allen has almost unmatched arm strength and can hurl the deep ball, but is he accurate and efficient like Patrick Mahomes? Even the newest pupil could agree that the answer to that is no.
Lock possesses both of these traits and successfully demonstrates them at a high rate.
This play is a simple short drop out of shotgun. Trips to one side with both inside receivers running corner-post routes. Georgia plays zone with basically everyone dropped back so the window is extremely tight. The center-fielding DB (20) initially turns to the inside most receiver, giving Lock just enough time to zing it into the middle receiver running the post. This is not a completion and converted 2-pt conversion without tremendous arm strength.
Kind of reminds me of another play…
Now Lock’s deep ball accuracy was on display ample times throughout the season. Everyone loves to ooo and ahh about deep ball passers, but when you can do it effectively in games with tight coverage, it’s truly something to marvel at, and a game changer. Just ask Chiefs fans this year.
This is a simple sprint roll-out from the pistol formation. The line does a great job in pass-pro, but within five seconds Lock releases the ball and hits his receiver on a button who was draped in coverage. You either have that or you don’t.
This next play is just another example of the arm strength and deep ball accuracy. Again, clean pocket, which we’ll talk about a bit more as we progress, but Lock steps up in the pocket when a bit of edge pressure crashes in and throws it almost 45 yards on a rope to where only his receiver can catch it. Timing, power, accuracy, all rolled into one play.
Pocket Presence And Elusiveness
The pocket. What truly defines a pocket passer? Quarterbacks that are able to elude the rush without “running.” Escapability is one thing, escaping and fleeing is another. For the sake of Drew Lock, he is a polished pocket passer. When the outside rush crashes in, he does a good job of stepping up. If penetration comes from the inside, he does a good job of stepping to the side or avoiding it just enough to get the pass off. What you see with a lot of passers, is that once the pressure is felt, their eyes shift and their focus becomes scrambling and escaping. Pocket passers, such as Peyton Manning or Ben Roethlisberger, keep their eyes downfield in the midst of pressure.
In this play, Flordia sends a disguised blitz with a fifth delayed blitzer. Lock sidesteps, then steps up in the pocket and delivers a strike 45 yards downfield for a touchdown. All of this happens in under five seconds. It’s is a really good sign when you see young quarterbacks able to climb the levels of the pocket.
Same game. In this play, again pressure comes from the outside. Then pressure comes up the middle. Many would see the ally way that was created to his right and then take off running, but Lock stands tough and delivers on target for a first down while taking the hit.
Playmaker And Athletic Ability
When talking about prospect quarterbacks with great athletic ability, most people will immediately advert to Kyler Murray, and rightfully so. But don’t discount Lock and his athleticism. While his bread and butter, as I just talked about, is standing in the pocket and airing it out with accuracy, he is certainly a mobile quarterback. Again, he is a mobile quarterback, not a running quarterback (but don’t tell Stephen A. Smith that).
When breaking down film on Baker Mayfield last year I talked about his amazing ability to extend plays with his legs without running. What I meant by that, was that he would escape pressure and leave the pocket, if necessary, but would not give up on the play by running downfield. Drew Lock showed flashes of this as well.
In this play, the pocket around him collapses. He escapes to the outside, and his athletic ability keeps the DB at the bottom of the screen honest. In a split second, the streaking receiver is freed up and Lock is able to connect throwing across his body for a 25-yard strike and a first down. He extended the play with his legs but finished it with his arm, something I love to see from quarterbacks.
Another athletic play here. The tackle probably should have been called for holding on Josh Allen, but Lock side-steps his rush and rolls to the right and then hits the out route for a first down. Play extension when the protection breaks down, very positive marks.
3 Player Traits In Need Of Improvement
While Lock has a lot of upsides that I like, there are plenty of areas that I’d like to see him improve. With the right coaching staff and some time to continue to hone his craft, there is no reason why he cannot be a viable starter in the NFL.
This seems to be somewhat of a trend for a lot of quarterbacks in the draft class. Poor footwork at times in the pocket and making awkward throws when it isn’t necessary.
This is an interesting play because there are a lot of bad mechanics being displayed, but it results in a touchdown. Lock has no pressure in his face but drops his shoulder, falls back, and throws off his back foot. The ball still has pretty good touch on it but was underthrown and should have been picked off. A lot of quarterbacks with strong arms do this, rely solely on arm strength and let the mechanics and footwork falter. Had he stepped into the throw, it would have been out in front where only the receiver would have a shot at it, avoiding the opportunity of an interception.
This play was a result of bad timing, thus causing poor footwork. The receiver was open at the top of the route, but Lock waited for a split second too long, allowing the pressure to get through the protection and forcing him to throw off his back foot and sail the pass.
Batted Balls At Line Of Scrimmage
There is nothing more frustrating for your team to line up for 3rd and 6, your quarterback drops back to pass, and his pass gets batted down by a lineman. At the beginning of the 2018 season, this happened a lot to Lock.
A lot of these happened on screen plays and Lock didn’t wait quite long enough for the play to develop. The QB has to allow the running back or receiver to run himself open or get to the open pocket where the play would develop from. Lock was a bit hasty sometimes and threw passes straight into unblocked linemen’s hands.
Other instances were due to a low release. For being 6’4, Lock should rarely, if ever, have a ball batted down at the line of scrimmage. At times he would almost “short-arm” passes and not fully extend. This caused his release to be lower, thus leading to a batted ball. Good news is this improved dramatically as the season went on.
Does Not Play Under Center
In today’s NFL this really shouldn’t matter but it should at least be noted. During the 2018 season, only four NFL teams took more snaps under center than shotgun according to SharpFootballStats.com; LA Rams (63%), NE (55%), NO (51%), and SF (56%). However, the lowest under center percentage was KC at 20%, whereas the modern college QB plays under center at about 0%.
If you look at the recent QBs to come out, Baker Mayfield, Deshaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes, these guys didn’t play under center and have been successful. I mean Peyton Manning pretty much never took a snap under center the latter half of his career. But for every one of those guys, you have an RGIII, Johnny Manziel, and Paxton Lynch who didn’t play under center in college and could not make the transition.
So what makes the difference?
Obviously, running plays out of the I-formation or single-back versus shotgun or pistol gives you different play formations, and design, but what it really boils down to is reads and football IQ. Can the quarterback read what the defense is doing pre-snap and then run the play based on that read?
While lining up out of the pistol or shotgun pretty much every play, Missouri ran a very pro-style offense forcing Lock to make pre-snap reads. So will his lack of snaps really be a negative factor? As I said, it should at least be noted.
Top 3 NFL Team Fits
This is an obvious fit for multiple reasons. The Broncos GM has gushed over Lock for two years now. Joe Flacco was traded for to be a bridge quarterback, and the Broncos still need to find their QB of the future. Lock could sit behind Flacco for at least a year (up to three if necessary) and then take the reins when ready. Not to mention his playing style is very similar to Flacco’s so the transition would be smooth; much different than the situation the Ravens went through last season. I don’t know if Elway wants to trade up from the 10-spot, but if Lock is still available, expect him to be in orange and blue in 2019.
We still don’t really know what the future of Ryan Tannehill looks like in Miami. This will be a big draft for first-year head coach Brian Flores, as he decides if Tannehill is the future or if he wants to make a move for his guy. The Dolphins currently sit at 13 in the first-round so they would likely have to trade up to make a move on Lock. This is another good scenario where he could sit behind Tannehill for a year, allowing him to learn the system and allowing Tannehill to showcase himself to the rest of the league. Are the Dolphins willing to give up a lot to go get Lock?
Will he or won’t he play? All signs point to Alex Smith missing the 2019 season rehabbing his gruesome leg injury. Reports came out that Washington made offers to Baltimore for Joe Flacco so clearly they know that they need to address the position for the upcoming year. The question remains if they plan to do that in free agency or in the draft. Smith’s contract is a $20.4 million cap hit this season so it will be tough for Washington to be spendy at that position in free agency, so the draft is more than likely where they will need to find their guy. I think Lock is better suited to be eased into a starting role but if Washington is desperate enough look for them to trade up from the 15 spot and make a move on him.
NFL Player Comparison
Ben is 6’5 240. Lock is 6’4 223. Both are big strong-armed quarterbacks that are accurate with the deep ball. Big Ben has made a living at standing tall in the pocket, taking hits, and delivering timely bullets. Lock had a very similar repertoire at Mizzou. Lock will need to improve his footwork in the pocket if he ever wants a chance to get the Roethlisberger’s status, but he has a lot of similar tools that have him heading in the right direction.