Drew Lock's Second Major Injury Forces Uncomfortable Conversation at Broncos HQ

Erick Trickel

The Denver Broncos are stuck between a rock and a hard place as the team looks to the future of the franchise. Uncomfortable questions now come at the quarterback position with Drew Lock suffering a shoulder injury that will sideline him for 2-6 weeks, maybe even longer. 

Considering that it's Lock's second major injury in as many seasons as a pro, there has to be a discussion among the decision-makers at Broncos HQ. Do the Broncos need to start looking at quarterbacks for the 2021 NFL Draft?

This is an existential question for the Broncos. In the video above, I dig into it unflinchingly and it might leave some fans chagrined. However, before fans grab the torches and pitchforks, hear me out. 

There is a lot that goes into this question and the Broncos won't arrive at a true answer until after the season is over. But it is an issue that needs to begin being discussed.

Lock has played in seven games, completing six of them. Since being drafted in the second round of the 2019 draft, he's dealt with a pretty serious thumb injury, which sidelined him for most of his rookie year, and now a serious shoulder injury. Both happened to his throwing shoulder/hand. 

That alone is a reason to be concerned about going forward. It's a lot of time Lock will have missed for injury and as they say, the best ability is availability.

Over the span of Lock's starts, there have been undeniable flashes of brilliance with his play, just as there have been some facepalm moments due to young mistakes. He earned the right to be the guy this season based on his 4-1 finish as a rookie, but again, he is now hurt. 

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With two major injuries in two years, can Lock really grow as a player? The shortest path to development is to get out there on the field and if he ends up missing the longest possible time in his prognosis (six weeks), it would add up to 15 games in two seasons.

I'm not saying the team should give up on Lock, so don't get it twisted, but Denver can't repeat a mistake they made a few years ago. Denver passed on the 2017 quarterback class, which included guys like Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson, hoping for the development of Paxton Lynch which never came to fruition. 

Granted, Lock has shown more in the NFL than Lynch ever did but Lynch carried a first-round investment which is much higher in value and pedigree than Lock's. Denver has to consider protecting itself by drafting another quarterback. 

That would give the Broncos someone to compete with Lock and push Driskel as the backup quarterback. I like Lock and the potential he has shown, but his injuries are a concern going forward, especially when you factor in how much cost-controlled time the team has lost.

Lock is only under team control for two more seasons. Devil's advocate? A first-round pick in 2021 would give the Broncos a five-year window with a cost-controlled QB. 

The biggest and most obvious variable in this is: how will Lock play when he comes back from his injury? That should be the determining factor for determining when the Broncos target a quarterback. 

If he does well, then maybe Round 3 or 4 would be the draft window, but if he falls flat, the Broncos would have to consider at Round 1. This was the course set by how Denver handled 2019 and the offseason of 2020. 

GM John Elway built the nest around Lock, but now he's not available to maximize the talent and investment. But that talent is also there for whichever quarterback that might come next.

The potential is there with Lock, but with two serious injuries, the Broncos must consider protecting future years by adding another quarterback to compete. If Lock pans out this year, great, you have a backup to develop and maybe move for draft capital down the road and you wouldn't have to invest another first-rounder in the QB position. 

If Lock fails, now you have a backup plan. I can't stress this enough; Denver cannot repeat the mistakes it has in the past and ignore the position with hopes riding on Lock. That's what led to four sub-par seasons post-Super Bowl 50 and no fan should want to repeat that. 

Again, the answer is Denver should be looking at quarterbacks in the 2021 draft, but exactly when will be determined by Lock when he comes back from injury. I share in Broncos Country's hope that he has a speedy recovery and comes back to light things on fire and put to rest any question of a first-rounder next year, but even if he does, remember, there needs to be a viable backup plan considering his injury history. 

Don't forget to check out the video above for additional context on this sensitive topic. You tell me? How should the Broncos proceed from a team-building perspective in light of Lock's second big injury? Sound off in the comment section below. 

Follow Erick on Twitter @ErickTrickel and @MileHighHuddle. 

THANKS FOR READING MILE HIGH HUDDLE
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Comments (54)
No. 1-17
Wyobronco
Wyobronco

I agree that we should hedge our bet on Lock by looking for another option in the draft. Until we know for sure that he is the answer, and that he can stay healthy, we should proceed as if we are a team in need of a franchise QB.

cosportsfan
cosportsfan

It wouldn't be bad to put a decent O line around the guy!!! That bunch is as much to blame as any and is gonna have driskel hurt in the next couple weeks if they don't step it up. Weapons don't mean jack if you don't have a line.

Hinger89
Hinger89

Full disclosure, I did not watch the game this week. However I think Lock has showed (In a short window) he has some pretty good ability. Instead of wasting another first round draft pick on another QB, maybe we take a LT? Again, did not watch the game, but wouldn't surprise me if Dupree came off the left side past Bolles hitting Lock on the blind side and injuring a young kid that, like all young Qbs, need to work on awareness in the pocket.

Denverkewl
Denverkewl

Unfortunately we have no idea how Lock will recover with an injured throwing shoulder...so you are really at a point of: until proven otherwise, QB has to be on the table.

BuckinBronco
BuckinBronco

Sad but true

Choibake
Choibake

They need to build an offensive line so good-Elway would be happy to play a game at 60. Until that happens, no QB save Timmy Tebow playing his single wing version of the position will survive.

Erick   Trickel
Erick Trickel

Editor

Yup. Quarterback is a meed until its not.

Lock has 6.25 games played and two major injuries to throwing shoulder/hand. Have to, at the very least, get competition for him in the draft.

toddx7
toddx7

The Broncos need to give Lock a chance this season and see what he can do. Another obvious issue that could be addressed in the first round would be OT.
My feeling is that Lock can be a long term QB for the Broncos but needs to execute
the Shurmur offense plays better.

Mmb715
Mmb715

Lock has proven to be injury prone. Fact! He isn’t even taking big hits. Last year he fell untouched and Sunday that was hardly a big hit. Part of being a good QB is being available. If he doesn’t play extremely well upon return I recommend a QB early. Too many weapons to waste without a QB you can’t depend to even be on the field. To be clear, I like Lock BUT he needs to prove he can stay on the field.

Broncos61
Broncos61

We know what has happened when Colts A. Luck had bad OL........D. Lock was tripped and when he was hit his both hand were on the ground supporting his body. Any QB would get injured. Just look at slow motion video. A similar situation has happened when G. Garapollo payed his 3rd game for New England when Brady was suspended. G.G. was out for 4 weeks with shoulder injury.....12 months later G.G. got ACL when playing for 49rs.. Young QB have to be protected by at least above average OL, before he learn how to protect himself

mobilebroncofan
mobilebroncofan

Not a big hit full weight of defender was right on his shoulder. It was a hard hit. Lock has played 5.25 games he has not learned to protect himself yet. He will now. Remember Drew Brees San Diego gave up on him after shoulder injury. Bet New Orleans glad they did. Give the kid a chance.

BleedOrange
BleedOrange

I have to wonder if the multitude of injuries for the Broncos is more of a symptom of not hitting in practices and not getting their bodies prepped for the physical toll of game days. While Covid played a big role in that, other teams were hitting in practice and have not sustained the game induced injuries like we have. Lock was not injury prone in college. So, I think it's a little too early to call him injury prone. Season 1 injury: fluke. Season 2 injury: lack of proper prep. If he gets injured and misses games again after his return, then it's a pattern and cause for some concern. So, yeah, start thinking about a QB in the draft if that happens. If it doesn't then move forward with Lock and Driskel and continue to build. Take a flier on day three if he proves healthy and use those day 1 and 2 picks address the other many needs they have.

Erick   Trickel
Erick Trickel

Editor

Many comments are very 1+1=2 comment but this is more than that. Its more a+b=x now find all the values.

Lock is still unknown. Now he is am unknown with two major injuries. Looking at adding another QB to compete with Lock does not mean give up on Lock. Getting a QB to compete with Lock does not mean they can't look at the line and try to fix the issues there. Getting a QB is all about protecting the team in the future in case Lock isnt it or suffers another big injury.

Fans of the Broncos.

Brew77
Brew77

Sorry but all this 2021 drafting a QB talk is a little premature why not let Lock come back play the last 8 or 9 games and see what happens. If Lock comes back plays well puts up good numbers the Broncos will move forward with him if he struggles plays inconsistent or gets hurt again then we can start the next QB talk. Yes these injuries are concerning but I wouldn’t call these MAJOR INJURIES to me those type of injuries are torn ACL’s or torn Achilles or torn Labrums not a torn ligament or bruised shoulder. Lock was a four year starter in college and didn’t to the best of my knowledge suffer any lengthy injuries so it’s not like he is injury prone football is a contact sport not everyone can be Brett Farve or Eli Manning and never miss games. I understand what you are saying Erick you always have to cover yourself especially at the QB position but let’s just see how the rest of this season plays out for Lock before we start talking about the 2021 QBs.

Vertcal Stripes
Vertcal Stripes

All of the above is MOOT until the O-Line is fixed. Munchak can't go out and play all 5 positions unfortunately. Doesn't matter who the QB is, he's gonna get killed

Freds
Freds

Too bad. Another Denver QB goes down how many does that make last 7 yrs 10? Maybe problem's not QBs.

U812
U812

I don't understand why these are being classified as "major" injuries. No surgery.....
Lock definitely needs work on some mechanics and he'll be fine. If he would have pulled the ball in closer to his body when he was scrambling it would have protected the ball and his arm from getting chopped from behind by a 270 lb. linebacker. The offensive line is much improved but right tackle is still a weak point. This line is head and shoulders above what they've put on the field since the super bowl. It took a while but the line is finally respectable. It's football. You're gonna get hit. Have awareness and protect yourself as best you can......


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