Bernie Bits: How Does Kyler Murray Impact Drew Lock’s Status in the 2019 NFL Draft?

Bernie Bits for Jan. 16, 2019 … 

Happy Birthdays: Albert Pujols (39), Daniel Poncedeleon (27), and the late Hall of Famer, Dizzy Dean, who was born in 1910.

On This Day in Sports History: The US Standard Board clears Stan Musial to receive an $85,000 salary (1952) … the 1962 NBA-All Star Game was played at the St. Louis Arena on Oakland Ave, with the West defeating the East by a score of 150-130. St. Louis Hawks Bob Pettit, the future Hall of Famer, was named the game’s MVP after scoring 25 points and pulling down 27 rebounds. Wilt Chamberlain had 42 points and 25 rebounds for the East.

Today’s Mood Check …

UP: St. Louis U. Billikens who are off to a 4-0 start in Atlantic 10 play. Coach Travis Ford’s team is ranked 19th nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency according to KenPom.com. The Billikens rank well nationally in defensive turnover rate (65th) and offensive rebounding percentage (30th.)

DOWN: The Mizzou Tigers, who are off to an 0-2 start in SEC play going into Wednesday night’s game against visiting Alabama.  The Tigers turned the ball over a combined 35 times in the losses to Tennessee and South Carolina. In its five losses, 9-5 Mizzou has turned it over an average of 18 yards per game. The Tigers have committed turnovers on 21.2 percent of their possessions; that ranks No. 292 nationally (ugh) and only four Power Conference teams have done worse than MU at taking care of the basketball this season.

Reading Time, 5 Minutes:

If he follows through with his declaration and enters the 2019 draft, Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray will realign the quarterback market. We’ve already seen several mock drafts that have Murray going early in the first round. We’ve seen him rated at the top of the board among quarterbacks in this draft class. So what does that mean for Mizzou senior Drew Lock? Well, there’s no question that Lock will move down, simply because of the excitement over Murray’s multiple-skilled talents. Here are a couple things I’d like to pass onto you:

1. In his new big-board player ratings, ESPN’s Todd McShay lists Lock at 47th overall. That isn’t a prediction of where Lock will be drafted. It’s simply McShay’s opinion on how to line up the most talented players from all positions. And we already know that QB-crazy teams will move up in tge draft, or make a painful reach, to gain custody of a quarterback — even if it means bypassing more talented and higher-rated players. Among quarterbacks, McShay has Lock ranked behind Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins (11th), Murray (24th), and West Virginia’s Will Grier (38th.) Maylock has Lock graded higher than N.C. State’s Ryan Finley (58th) and Duke’s Daniel Jones (69th.)

2. Chris Wright of Saturday Down South does an astute job of evaluating quarterbacks. This year, at least to this stage of the process, Wright believes that only three QBs are worthy of a first-round selection. In order he ranks them  this way: Murray, Grier and Haskins.

OK, so what about Lock?

Wright places Lock in a group with Finley and Jones.

“Ah, the three poster boys for what a prototypical NFL quarterback is supposed to look like,” Wright wrote. “You’ll hear all three mentioned as first-round possibilities. Just not here.”

Let’s just say that Wright is lukewarm over Lock.

 “Lock had a record-breaking career at Missouri,” Wright wrote. “He, too, has the measurables and probably the strongest arm in the draft. Without question, he looks the part of an early first-rounder. He’ll impress in workouts much like Mitch Trubisky did (last year.) 

“Call it system bias, but I never looked at Lock and saw Matthew Stafford. That’s not an indictment of Lock’s right arm. Again, that’s an NFL weapon.

“It’s everything else. The completion percentage has never been overly impressive. He struggled against better competition and also when his biggest deep threat was absent. And some of his decisions are hard to un-see.

“Surround Will Grier with the same talent, and I’m convinced Grier gets more done, wins more games (than Lock.)” 

3. Writing at Saturday Down South, Missouri graduate Adam Spencer projects three good NFL fits for Lock. He goes with the Denver Broncos, New York Giants and New England Patriots.  The most interesting call there is New England. Which means that Lock would tumble to late in the first round, at least. “This is a bit of a long shot, yes,” Spencer wrote. “But if Lock experiences an Aaron Rodgers-like slide, the Pats should at least consider taking him and developing him asTom  Brady’s heir.” 

4. CBS Sports has been thumbs-up on Lock all season,  consistently rating him as a first-round talent. In its latest look  at the QB candidates to go in Round 1 of the ’19 NFL Draft, CBS presented this evaluation of the prolific Lock:

“Lock threw 963 more passes than Haskins in his career as a Missouri’s four-year starter. While he operated a ‘new age’ spread attack, his offensive coordinators (Josh Heupel and Derek Dooley) certainly tapped into his enormous arm often with a variety of vertical elements to the passing game, which thereby dinged Lock’s completion percentage. In 2018, the 6-4, 225-pounder completed 62.9% of his throws at eight yards per attempt with 28 touchdowns and eight picks after tossing 44 touchdowns to 13 picks in 2017. Infrequently, his accuracy can go a little haywire, but he can also stretch a defense like no other quarterback in the class, and his once antsy demeanor inside the pocket after his first read was unavailable greatly improved in his senior season, especially down the stretch. There’s a lot of Matthew Stafford to his game.”

Thanks for reading …

–Bernie