Nick Whalen gives 4 QBs in this draft first round grades. Rated last of the bunch is his #4 ranked prospect at the position, Drew Lock. Lock’s strong arm reminds Nick of Jay Cutler and he notes that Lock has one of the higher ceilings of any QB entering the draft.
Draft Grade: 1st Round NFL Comp: Jay Cutler
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Drew Lock entered the 2018 season with a lot hype. He was the 6th best QB in his recruiting class out of High School. He then put together a solid 2016 season starting at Missouri. However, touchdowns change expectations and Lock had 44 of them during the 2017 season! To put into perspective how good his 9.5 average yards per pass is, Daniel Jones’ had 6.8 in his best season!
His 2018 season didn’t start as many had hoped with poor performances against Georgia, South Carolina, and Alabama. However, Lock settled down toward the end of the season and produced solidly against some power 5 teams, one of his negative narratives in the offseason.
Standing tall in the pocket at 6’4” 225, Lock keeps a good base as he surveys the field. While he occasionally climbs the pocket, the majority of the time he’s fairly stationary. If asked to roll out in either direction, Lock’s lack of athleticism comes into play. He can complete passes, but this isn’t his forte.
When pressured and flushed out of the pocket, Lock struggles with unscripted plays and completing passes. However, Lock won’t force passes when rolling out and throws the football safely out of bounds if he can’t find an open receiver. If the pressure comes from the interior, he will throw off his back foot. Sometimes he’ll do this even when he could step into the pass. Throwing off of unbalanced platforms leads to inaccurate passes.
Lock has great arm talent. He possesses the strongest arm in this rookie class, which provides him the ability to fit the football into tight windows. Lock likes to throw the football on a line down the field before safeties have the opportunity to make plays on the football. He is an effortless thrower and can flick his wrist to generate great velocity on passes.
He can throw a quick pass with a good release and demonstrates less of a wind up or a longer release on some deep passes. Drew shows the ability to throw the football from different angles, but mainly has a ¾ to side arm slot, which allows for more passes to get batted down at the line of scrimmage. He can make those bucket throws on the outside to receivers. His deep passes have touch and a greater ability to be caught.
Lock shows the knowledge to take velocity off of passes to increase the likelihood of a completion. He has some aggressiveness in his decision making and likes to take vertical shots when he sees a one on one opportunity.
He can extend the football field and backup safeties due to his great arm strength. He can throw the football 60+ yards rather easily with velocity. Drew trusts his receivers to beat press coverage, gain separation and make plays on the football with 50/50 targets.
Lock will throw the football in risky areas when the defender isn’t looking and only his receiver can make a play on the football. This is advanced decision making, but he needs receivers to be able to take advantage. He has the arm talent to not only make every throw at the NFL level, but do it at a very high level.
He is not consistent with his accuracy, which can be somewhat linked to his footwork with pressure. When he takes some velocity off passes, he can overthrow wide open players. He will throw some outside passes too far inside and they’ll get intercepted, like he did early against Alabama.
Lock could also improve by throwing to the best shoulder for his receivers too. If he has time in the pocket, Lock will keep scanning for open receivers. But he tends to predetermine where he’s going with the football and will rifle the football to that receiver no matter the window. This is where the superior arm strength can be a negative. This processing of information post-snap is going to be key for Lock as he transitions to the NFL.
He improved over the second half of the season and during his time at the Senior Bowl, which is promising. If he can continue to progress within the mental processing and decision making aspect of the game, he has a very high ceiling.