The MMQB has asked three quarterbacking experts—long-time front-office exec and scout Joey Clinkscales, long-time coach and coordinator Todd Haley, and long-time NFL quarterback Bruce Gradkowski—to assess the top QB prospects of the 2019 draft. The QB Panel Film Room series continues with Missouri’s Drew Lock…
FRONT OFFICE: Joey Clinkscales
Former Director of Player Personnel, Oakland Raiders; Vice President of College Scouting, New York Jets
Drew Lock is a player that has size, mobility and enough athleticism along with a good arm to be a good pro player. His play can frustrate you at times with the turnovers, or timing of the turnovers. There are other times when you wish he had the feel or awareness to step up in the pocket rather than being flush outside. He has a talented arm, can change arm angles and when he steps to target can be effective downfield as a passer. He will throw flat-footed or with a wide base, which effects his accuracy. There are times when you need to throw off your back foot to get the ball out quickly and he certainly has enough arm to do that. He’s not under the center a lot but have seen him there. While I haven’t seen the final stats on the season, in the games viewed the turnovers and timing of them were problematic. He had a fumbled snap one game in the rain, he opened a game with an interception on the first pass and had a sack fumble and another interception in the end zone in same game. All that said, he can throw strikes on demand.
Strengths: Arm/arm talent, mobility, solid athlete, tough, accuracy short.
Weaknesses: Base/footwork at times, inconsistent to step to target, will try to force ball into tight windows, bad turnovers at times, pocket feel at times.
Unknown: While the leadership is unknown, he is a four-year guy that had a new coordinator this season and picked things up pretty quickly, but I don’t know his ability to communicate with others.
Player comp: Watching him play and his demeanor on-field at times reminds me of Jay Cutler. Maybe not as big of an arm and not as athletic but overall ability and on-field demeanor leads me to that comparison.
Ideal landing spot: Giants, Miami, Cincinnati, and Washington are teams that initially standout. All have a need or would consider at the appropriate value.
Can he be a starter in 2019?: I don’t know if he could be an opening day starter at any of these teams.
Potential to become a franchise QB: I think if things go well you could build around this player and his skill set, so he could develop into a long term starter given the opportunity. I’m not sure I see this guy as a franchise-type QB; those guys are really hard to come by and his play on an NFL field will determine if he can be that type of player.
COACH: Todd Haley
Former Head Coach, Kansas City Chiefs; Offensive Coordinator, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Arizona Cardinals
Player Comp: There’s some Phillip Rivers to him.
Ideal landing spot: Pittsburgh Steelers. He would do well sitting and learning from a guy like Ben.
Can he be a starter in 2019?: It would be best to learn from a vet.
Potential to become a franchise QB: He has the skill set and tools to be a starter long term. He has an advantage because he has three-plus years starting and he is 22 years old. I like the tools and what I have heard about his leadership.
QUARTERBACK: Bruce Gradkowski
Former Quarterback, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals, Oakland Raiders, Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Strengths: Drew Lock has a ton of college experience and confidence that he’s bringing with him to the NFL. He has the arm strength and stature of an NFL franchise quarterback. He has a quick release and can flick the ball right out of his hand. Lock has the ability to fit the ball into tight windows. He’s smart and athletic to make some plays outside of the pocket. I like that he is also a good basketball player—usually that athleticism helps to be able to react and see the field. I believe Lock brings some of his basketball talents to the football field. I was impressed with the accurate throws he has been able to make even when the wide receiver route was poor. This demonstrates the ability to adapt to things off-script.
Weaknesses: Lock has all the physical qualities you would want in an NFL quarterback but this doesn’t guarantee success. His system in college didn’t prepare him much for this moment. Lock has to continue to develop his footwork within the pocket and within his throwing motion. At times he tends to throw all arm and fall away from his throws. He also aims the ball too often instead of letting it rip. He could get away with it in college because he has all the arm talent you could wish for and some games were against lesser talent. When I watched him play against tougher opponents his footwork and inconsistent delivery would catch up with him. He tends to drop his elbow when he’s under pressure, on the run, or off-balance. This can be an asset at times to help create room to deliver the football in a tight pocket, or when someone is in his face, but his accuracy fell when his elbow dropped.
Player comp: Drew Lock is between a Carson Wentz and Jay Cutler. Lock is not as athletic or as polished as Wentz, but as a passer they have a similar style. The way he stands in the pocket and drops the ball reminds me of Cutler.
Ideal landing spot: Los Angeles Chargers. The best thing for Lock would be to learn behind a proven, veteran quarterback. He needs to watch and learn while also fine-tuning his footwork and becoming more consistent as a thrower. We know Rivers isn’t getting any younger, and the Chargers need to start looking for his replacement. Lock has a high ceiling and this would be a perfect fit for both sides.
Can he be a starter in 2019?: Ideally, no! He has the arm strength to get him through but he would have more downs than ups if he had to play in 2019. I think he would be serviceable at best as a starter in 2019 and for his long-term future, I hope we don’t see him much in 2019.
Potential to become a franchise QB: Lock needs to become more consistent as a thrower from a mechanics standpoint. Consistency is what allows for a long-term career and he needs to improve in that area. His arm talent should get him plenty of opportunities to make it in this league and I believe he will improve his lower body when he throws and have a lengthy NFL career.
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