As an Elite 11 camp participant and Kansas City Metro Player of the Year, Drew Lock had his choice of college programs, but he decided to stay home in Columbia and started the final eight games as a freshman for the Tigers.
In his second season only he already led the SEC in passing yards and finished top 10 in the nation in that category. In 2017 he recorded 44 passing touchdowns, which not only led the country, but also set a new conference single-season record. His totals went down a little last season, but so did the turnovers and he was still a second-team All-SEC selection. Before the start of the 2018 season I said Lock was the best quarterback in college nobody was talking about, but he has emerged in this pre-draft process and the arrow is pointing towards him going somewhere in the top half of the first round.
Swagger is the word that comes up when you talk to scouts about Lock. He had serious D1 offers for basketball, but decided to go with his true love in football and came just one passing touchdown short of the magical number 100 for his career at Missouri. Lock has prototype size at 6’4”, 225 pounds and he might have the most arm talent of anybody in the draft class. He throws a beautiful ball with effortless velocity and can change things, such as completing a ridiculous under-hand throw in the Senior Bowl game.
At Mizzou he ran a very up-tempo, high-powered offense that included a lot of hitches, slants, go-routes and smoke-screens. While he completed only 56.9 percent of his passes throughout his college career, Lock was the victim of a serious amount of drops and pushed the ball down the field as much as anybody in college football these last few years. He would buy some time to allow his speedster Emanuel Hall to get past everybody and then just launched rockets 60-70 yards downfield.
Often labelled as a product of the completed system, Lock certainly has some excellent qualities to transcend any type of scheme. He shows very good processing speed and the ability to foresee plays as they occur.
Lock’s ability to anticipate throws is highly underrated and he shows the potential to work within a rhythm and timing-based offense, where he has to get rid of the ball before receivers are coming out of their breaks. You see him fit some balls into microscopically small windows that few quarterbacks would even attempt. I think back to a couple of passes in the Alabama game, where I had to go back several times to see how he actually did it.
Missouri coaches utilized Lock’s athleticism on zone-read plays, where he picked up yardage quickly. He confirmed the speed I saw on tape with a 4.69 in the 40-yard dash at the combine. Inside the pocket, I think Lock does an excellent job reducing the shoulder against pressure off the edge and stepping up to deliver downfield. He slides around behind his line and is very sudden at opening up to escape. Even though Daniel Jones won the Senior Bowl MVP, I thought Lock showed way more talent and completed more big-time throws.
With that being said, Lock gets himself into trouble at times by hesitating for a split-second and being late on some throws, which costs him. That is even worse when he lets the ball float instead of trying to drill his man. He definitely has the arm strength to fit balls in some tight windows with great velocity, but he has to find some more consistency when it comes to accuracy.
Lock is a bit of an “arm-thrower” whose feet aren’t always linked to his upper body and have him fading away. Because of that his ball-placement can be off a little, to where he does get it to the intended target, but the ball is too far inside when it should go to the back-shoulder or slightly behind his running back, who has to stop for it on a swing route, taking away easy yards after the catch.
Lock is yet to learn the nuances of the position, such as moving safeties to open up throwing windows as well His mechanics break down to some degree when forced off the spot and he is way too loose with the ball when he has a rusher in his face. Only having nine-inch hands doesn’t help either, which caused him to fumble six times in 2018. Throughout his career with the Tigers he had a 1-10 record versus ranked SEC teams, with a completion percentage of just 52.1 percent and 14 touchdowns compared 16 INTs in those games.
Lock has four years of experience in college football’s toughest conference in and while he might not have won a big game until the Florida matchup later on in 2018, the talent-level around him was always a lot lower than the ones from the top SEC schools.
Until last season Lock was in that Baylor Air-Raid system, where he made very simple reads and didn’t have to worry about footwork, progressions and such as, but last season he showed some growth with more full-field reads and cut down on turnover-worthy throws. He would certainly still benefit from sitting on the bench for a year to clean up his delivery and according football, to be more consistently accurate.
When I look at Lock I see guy that reminds me of Matt Stafford, but he needs to learn to square his shoulder whilst on the move and make more plays outside the pocket to be as dangerous as the Lions’ gunslinger.
Grade: Late First/Early SecondPublished 21 Apr 2019, 22:00 IST