For the past couple of years, Drew Lock has been drawing attention with his phenomenal arm-strength and NFL ready build.
Lock’s Junior season is when many started to take notice as he threw for 3,964 yards and 44 touchdowns with a passer rating of 165.7. Unsurprisingly the 2017 season broke a lot of personal best records for the young rock slinger.
The season started out rough with 5 losses in 6 games to open the year but they saw out the rest of the season by winning 6 straight including impressive victories against Florida, Arkansas and Tennessee.
His performances in the outdoor Texas bowl brought the Lock circus back down to earth with arguably his worst performance in his Collegiate career. However, many expected Lock to continue with his late junior season form where during the 6-game winning streak he threw for 26TDs (5 INTs) and an overall pass completion percentage of 63%.
Many, including myself expected Lock to declare for the draft in 2018, but his reasoning for not is a very intelligent response and one that will have definitely made teams interested.
After finding out that Derek Dooley (former Cowboys WR coach) was coming into lead the Tigers offence Lock said:
“I wanted to be able to speak to NFL teams on a higher level than I thought I’d be able to speak to them at that time [of the 2018 draft]…What better way to be able to do that than [play for] a guy like coach Dooley that sat in on those meetings and had decisions and helped decide who they thought they should draft? That was huge in me coming back.”
Lock’s self awareness is something that a lot of NFL scouts and GMs will find incredibly attractive, if you can identify your key issues then you’re already halfway to solving them and there’s no doubt that even after putting up impressive numbers Lock knew he needed to learn more about the game.
Moving into 2018, Lock’s senior season saw a mixed bag of results. He threw for 3,498 yards, 28 TDs (8INTs) and whilst his yards per attempt were down from 10.2 to 8.5 (a lot can be attributed to learning a new offence) his completion percentage continued to trend in the right direction as he upped it to 62.9%, from 57.8% in 2017.
I feel looking back over both seasons, Lock has spent the majority of this season focusing on his decision making and protecting the football.
There’s no doubt that Lock’s greatest asset is his arm strength, comparable to Josh Allen in many ways with his ability to get the ball down field. Although, his arm angle when throwing the ball draws comparisons to Kansas City Sensation Patrick Mahomes.
His deep ball has a phenomenal amount of touch on it allowing the receivers to run underneath them and often catch them in stride.
Drew’s footwork is arguably the most impressive in this year’s class, his drop back game is near faultless which tends to lead to accurate dead-eye throws on the intermediate routes.
His Receivers have been guilty of a few drops this season but nothing out of the ordinary at the Collegiate level. There’s very little doubt in my mind that Lock, at the very minimum, will be an accurate NFL QB with top level receivers.
There are glimpses of fantastic ball placement in his game, and although I believe it could definitely see improvement, his does often hit the money on the intermediate-deep routes.
When there’s nothing on, Lock has the skills and athleticism to take off on his feet and escape the pocket, the Tigers even have a few designed runs for him to take advantage of but in the stronger, faster and more athletic NFL it’s unlikely that many NFL teams would encourage Lock to use his feet unless he absolutely has too.
With that said, there’s no doubt Lock can extend plays with his feet and arm strength should make for some exciting on-the-run completions.
Lock’s biggest negative is similar to the one that plagues Dwayne Haskins, everything we’ve seen of him has been in small samples and typically in an offence that compares very little to an NFL offence.
In his first two years as the Mizzou starter, Lock played in a hybrid of a spread and air raid offence but that left under former OC Huepel (Every Mizzou play was from the shotgun, passing plays did not require reading the entire field and runs often stayed within the tackles in order to prevent negative plays).
Lock’s senior season under Derek Dooley was a lot more comparable to an NFL offence as Dooley himself was an NFL coach. This year has seen Lock sit under centre a bit more but I’m not entirely sure whether teams would consider 11 games a decent enough sample size.
Typically, Lock was instructed to throw tunnel screens, and RPO’s based on the quick screens to the Z or X receiver.
My other cause for concern with Lock is in his short-passing game footwork, he often struggles to get his feet set correctly in order to make accurate throws in quick pass situations. It’s not the fact he can’t do it, it’s the fact his poor footwork makes things complicated for him and can turn easy passes into incompletions as a result of poor mechanics through his foot placement.
These kind of habits are incredibly hard to beat and it seems as if this has been a theme for Lock since he was in High School. The good news here is the likes of Jimmy Garoppolo have proven you can make a career in the NFL even with fundamentally flawed footwork.
Having sound footwork is the fundamental basis for throwing an accurate ball. Having a solid base platform allows you distribute your weight as you move through your throwing motion – those without it often turn the easiest of throws into inaccurate messes and not to mention without the proper foot placement it becomes difficult to move in the pocket.
Before this season Lock was rarely asked to read the field and go through all of his progressions before throwing the ball, this year we’ve seen him do that a lot more and although it’s a learning process and he’s not as polished as someone like Haskins , it’s something that most QBs enter the NFL with 0 understanding on, so at the very least his limited knowledge in how to read the field is an advantage over many.
Drew Lock has just completed his 3rd season as the Captain with the Missouri Tigers and it’s a programme that runs deep in his roots (his dad was one of the greatest offensive linemen the Tigers have ever produced).
Luckily, with an exceptionally talented and Collegiate famous family (his mother was also a renowned Basketball player at Centralia High School), he was raised with the composure to not only handle the spotlight but to also handle the big clutch moments on the gridiron.
His temperament and character makeup are honestly a joy to watch, he’s been involved as a losing and winning team in blowout games and nothing about it phases him. There is no doubt as a leader he will be able to handle an NFL huddle.
His teammates have nothing but good things to say about him and if his career numbers are anything to go by you can see he works hard to improve his craft. As a person, he reminds me a lot of Josh Allen in his mannerisms and there is nothing to suggest he has issues regarding health, attitude or personal problems.
The bottom line is Lock is an Elway-esque gunslinger with a huge arm and the ability to make almost any throw. The velocity he throws the ball with allows him to throw into tight windows and the touch he places on the ball helps his receivers to make the catch.
He throws the ball well downfield and shows some timing and anticipation. Along with his arm, Lock is a better athlete than one would expect. Many have said that comes across in practice, and his athleticism is a surprising plus for the big-armed quarterback.
There are a number of things that Lock needs to improve upon coming into the Pros. Mainly his accuracy, field vision, and the speed at which he works through progressions. Lock can be prone to overthrows, plus he can put too much heat on some passes. He does have the propensity to force throws to covered wideouts, occasionally trusting his arm too much to beat tight coverage. That is a very common issue that young big-armed quarterbacks have, but that issue could be coached out of him.
The forever optimist in me wants to mention Lock in the same bracket as Patrick Mahomes and I understand the comparisons but it’s very unlikely he’ll be as successful as Mahomes has been thus far and comparing the two is only going to result in expectations Lock quite simply can’t meet – like 99% of quarterbacks out there.
Whoever drafts him will need to have patience with him and it would be a wise decision to have him sit for a year, possibly two, behind a recognised starter.
Another comparison that often comes out the woodwork is Blaine Gabbert. It’s a lazy comparison with nothing but a school to keep in common. Coming out of college, Gabbert was predicted to be a round 1 guy but aside from some exaggerated accuracy issues I don’t see much in common between the pair. Lock is definitely a more aware and motivated player.
Lock reminds me of a hybrid between two AFC West quarterbacks, unfortunately not Mahomes but Phillip Rivers and Derek Carr. I believe his career will be somewhere in the middle of these two when it’s all said and done.
I’m more inclined to lean towards Rivers as a comparison due to his size, exceptional arm strength and similarly weird throwing motions (it’s important to note that it seems to have no effect on the accuracy of either QB).
- Unbelievable arm strength
- Perfect QB height at 6’4
- Athleticism to match his arm
- Consistent improvements year on year
- Strong leader
- Has the character makeup to be a successful QB
- Has pro-level placement, touch and accuracy
- Drop back footwork is polished to a high level
- Only recently moved into a pro-style offense
- Hasn’t made many ‘NFL throws’ to the full route tree although the arm strength to do so is there
- Has poor footwork on short throws and struggles to get correct placement under centre
- His throwing motion can create occasional blunders in accuracy