NFL.com's QB Rankings Missed Something Crucial About Broncos' Drew Lock
They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and that there's no accounting for taste. Every analyst has his or her own opinions and that's as it should be.
But when an analyst has a bad take, it's incumbent upon us to call them out for it. Such is the mandate before us today.
Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com recently ranked his top-35 quarterbacks in the league. Stunningly, Rosenthal not only ranked Denver Broncos' QB Drew Lock at No. 27 but also called for GM John Elway to get on the phone with two washed-out former No. 1 overall draft picks.
Rank 27: Drew Lock
The allure of upside, of finally finding a young solution at quarterback is strong. It's why John Elway once offered a top-shelf deal to Brock Osweiler and why the Broncos are apparently all-in on Lock after five dramatic starts that were uneven, if promising for a rookie. The Broncos would be crazy not to look into signing Cam Newton, Andy Dalton or Jameis Winston as a Plan B.
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Those who are critical of Lock will point to his limited five-game debut as if to say, 'there's not enough sample size here to forge a lasting opinion'. That perspective I can at least understand, even if I disagree. It was only five games and there needs to be more exposure before anyone can proclaim with a surety that Lock is the next 10-year starter in Denver but we learned a lot about him as QB.
Of course Lock's five starts were 'uneven'. He was a rookie coming off a 10-week exile on injured reserve. Considering what he went through and his relative inactivity for three-quarters of the season, that Lock could even modestly operate the Broncos' offense down the stretch was a remarkable achievement and doing so within the scope of a struggling first-year coordinator like Rich Scangarello was only more so.
To call it 'uneven' is akin to saying inconsistent. But aren't all rookie QBs inconsistent? And yet, the likes of Dwayne Haskins (26), Daniel Jones (24), Gardner Minshew (22) and Kyler Murray (6), all of whom Rosenthal ranked higher than Lock, didn't have the word 'uneven' or 'inconsistent' used to justify their ranking. Do I detect a bias?
Let's face it, Lock's audition in 2019 was impressive. Was it perfect? No. But he showed a heck of a lot more than Rosenthal is giving him credit for.
What Rosenthal Missed
Lock finished with 1,020 passing yards, a completion percentage of 64.1 and a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 7-to-3. That's all fine and dandy, but what matters most is that Lock's performance translated to the win column, which none of his fellow 2019 rookie signal-callers can say.
Murray started all 16 games for the Arizona Cardinals, posting a .313 winning percentage. Minshew started 12 games for the Jacksonville Jaguars, posting a .500 winning percentage. Jones started 12 games for the New York Giants, posting a .250 winning percentage, while Haskins started nine games for the Washington Redskins and posted a .285 winning percentage.
Lock? He posted a .800 winning percentage.
And let's not pretend as if Lock was working with superior tools. The Broncos had won a measly three games before he stepped in as the starter in Week 13. This team was on the brink of caving in and giving up the ghost when Lock took over and breathed new life into the Broncos. And not one of his skill-position players had more than two years of NFL experience.
Ranking Lock No. 27 among the top-35? Please. I get that nobody is going to put him in the top-10 and nor should they. Lock hasn't earned that yet. But bottom-third? I take umbrage with that.
Lock still has a lot to prove. But my gut intuition is that any national analyst unwilling to give him his just due has some sort an ax to grind. Like, perhaps a pre-draft evaluation or bold prediction to justify. Confirmation bias can compromise even the sharpest of journalists. And I fully recognize that I'm not immune.
Newton, Dalton or Winston? Don't Make me Laugh
As for the notion of adding any of that trio... if Elway was uninterested in pursuing arguably the greatest quarterback of all-time last month in Tom Brady, what makes Rosenthal, or anyone for that matter, believe the Broncos' GM would want to kick the tires on two QBs who've already flamed out?
Elway has tried that tack. It didn't work with Case Keenum, nor with Joe Flacco. And in case you missed it (Gregg), the Broncos finally found the guy the team believes to be its franchise QB of the future, so for the same reasons that Rosenthal didn't advocate for any of the other four 2019 rookie QBs to be hand-cuffed to a retread veteran, Lock requires no such fail-safe.
The Broncos wandered the QB desert for the better part of four seasons post-Peyton Manning. They're not about to look this gift-horse in the mouth.