Leading Up To The 2019 NFL Draft, QB Drew Lock’s Star Is Rising

Missouri’s Drew Lock emerged as one of the big winners when the quarterbacks took the stage at the annual NFL Scouting Combine in downtown Indianapolis over the weekend.

This bizarre combination of beauty pageant, gymnastics routine, cattle call, meet-and-greets and psychological testing can be a confusing and nonsensical exercise. The yearly inspection is arranged by obsessive NFL teams and covered breathlessly by aroused media.

For whatever it’s worth, Lock made a positive, across-the-board impression. Standing with Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray and Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins, Lock went into Indianapolis as one of the most highly touted QB prospects available in the 2019 NFL Draft. Lock came out of Indy looking better and standing taller.

Here’s a sampling of reviews:

Todd McShay, ESPN: “The ball jumps off his hands. I thought he looked smooth with an easy stroke in the workouts. Yes, there were times when he could have let it rip a little bit more (as my guy Mel was harping on all day), but I didn’t think it was that big of an issue. His best throws were on the post corners at the end of the throwing session. His ability to drive those balls on a line without much effort was impressive. And they were placed perfectly. The arrow is moving way up for the 6-foot-4, 228-pound quarterback, who had a strong second half of the season and has nailed the postseason process so far.”

R.J. White, CBS Sports: “Lock might have had the best day at his position, looking effortless on his passes which were largely on the money. His deep passes might not have been as impressive as those of Haskins, but he went toe-to-toe everywhere else. Good showing for someone who has dealt with questions about accuracy, and don’t overlook his 4.69-second 40-yard dash.”

Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com: “I spoke to multiple general managers on my phone saying, ‘Lock was The Dude this afternoon.’ Just has a great arm. In their meetings teams came away really liking him. He was a leader, a captain, at Missouri. Comes from a football lineage. Now, did he catapult over (Dwayne) Haskins? Potentially. Is he catapulting over Kyler Murray? Not sure.”

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, speaking to Kansas City news station KCTV-TV: “Look, he’s going to do a nice job. He’s a big old kid, man, that can sling it. I think he’s got a bright future ahead of him. Wherever he goes, he’s going to do well.”

Chris Simms of NBC Sports is way up on Lock and isn’t concerned about Lock’s slightly below-average hand size of 9 inches: “We’re in a different age now. There will be some teams that care … but Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold were just over 9 inches. Patrick Mahomes doesn’t have very big hands. Guys are gripping the ball differently than they did in the old days — near the top of the football where the ball is smaller. Lock is special. He can really throw it. He has a gifted, gifted arm. I’d give him the edge over Dwayne Haskins as the No. 2 quarterback right now, certainly.”

Ryan Dunleavy, N.J. com, who is tracking the New York Giants’ quest to draft a quarterback: “Lock might have been the most consistent of all the throwers on the field. He is battling Duke’s Daniel Jones for the right to be QB3 in the draft class and some optimists want to compare him to a Patrick Mahomes Light. Lock only completed 56.9 percent of his passes but says he is a 10 out of 10 on a scale for grading accuracy. He gets the ball out of his hand fast, sometimes at different angles, which is part of the Mahomes comparison. He also was near the top of the quarterbacks’ leaderboard in all the speed-timing drills.”

Kurt Warner (NFL Network) apparently isn’t a fan. Speaking to Peter King of NBC Sports, Warner dismissed the 2019 QB Class as “a very average group.”

Warner elaborated and never mentioned Lock: Kyler Murray’s probably the pick of the litter, though he’s very polarizing among teams. There’s a lot to like about Dwayne Haskins, who has a good arm and played very well last year at Ohio State. But to me, I don’t believe either one is as good as Baker Mayfield or Sam Darnold from last year. After Murray and Haskins, every guy in this group has limitations. So when I look at this crop, I see maybe two starters in the NFL. Not to say other guys can’t develop into starters, but Murray and Haskins are the ones I like, and I wouldn’t bank on any of the others to become reliable starters in the league. … In general, I don’t think it’s a consistent group.”

As for Lock’s evaluation of himself:  “I think every quarterback is going to tell you they’re No. 1, so I’m going to sit here and tell you I’m No. 1,” Lock said Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine. “It’s not my job to go and critique quarterbacks; I just know a lot about me.”

So …why are you No. 1, Drew? His answer: “I know that I’ve been through a certain amount of adversity at the University of Missouri that will get me ready for the NFL,” Lock said. “I know I’m athletic enough to be in the NFL and I’m going to prove that tomorrow. I know that I have the arm strength to play, I can make any throw on the field and I know I have the creativity out of the pocket to make plays when the pocket breaks down. I’m just a really confident guy.”

When asked to compare his style of play to a current NFL quarterback, Lock went with one of the best: Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers:  “Obviously I know I have a lot to prove, a lot to do to even be compared to this guy,” Lock said during Friday’s news conference. “But if there’s any way I would model my game probably after Aaron Rodgers. Just the stuff that he does off platform. I think if you watch my game, I throw a lot off weird platforms. My feet aren’t necessarily on the ground perfect all the time. We throw from weird arm angles. I get critiqued about it. He gets critiqued about it a little bit but that’s just our style of game. And that’s what we do, that’s what we’re proud of. That’s probably going to be hard to change unless someone really thinks I need to change that — then I will. That’s just who I am as a quarterback, and that’s definitely who he is.”

What, you expected Lock to say Blake Bortles? 

Lock will have a chance to enhance his draft profile on March 21 when he’ll throw for interested NFL teams on his designated Pro Day.

Thanks for reading …

–Bernie