A year ago, there were many draft and NFL analysts who were projecting the then-Missouri quarterback Drew Lock to the Denver Broncos. A few months later, that became the reality with the Broncos taking Lock in the second round of the 2019 draft.
The Broncos believed he could be the team's future franchise quarterback, which is why he was targeted. There are many who will argue that Denver didn’t really 'love' Lock because after all, they didn’t select him at pick 10 overall, or even at pick 20 after their trade-down with Pittsburgh.
If the Broncos liked Lock, why'd they risk him falling out of the first round? The Broncos' front office believed that Joe Flacco could be their quarterback for the next few years and felt they needed to address other roster holes.
When it came to trading down, it was value Denver felt they couldn’t pass up. With the belief that they had their quarterback to win now in Flacco, the trade-down made too much sense to pass up. However, when the Broncos were back on the clock at pick 20, armed with their belief in Flacco, they felt a tight end that could stretch the seam was a must-have. That led them to taking Noah Fant.
After that, however, the Broncos spent a lot of time calling around trying to trade back up and secure Lock. It started at pick 21 and ended all the way at pick 42, where Denver finally consummated a trade-up ahead of the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers, two teams that were a risk to take the young quarterback.
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Denver ended up selecting Dalton Risner with pick 41, right before where they ultimately took Lock for one very simple reason. If they didn’t take Risner, who they wanted anyway, the Cincinnati Bengals weren’t going to trade pick 42. Risner being off the board helped facilitate the trade.
Since that fateful draft day, Lock has improved many areas of his game and was in line to be the backup quarterback heading into the season. However, a sprained thumb derailed that momentum and landed him on injured reserve, which every Broncos fan knows full well by now.
Lock was finally activated to start the final five games for the Broncos and he showed a lot of promise which confirmed the love the Broncos had for him pre-draft. What exactly did Lock do during his five-game audition to reinforce to the Broncos' front office that they made the right decision in drafting him?
I lay it all out in the video above, but the cliff-notes takeaway is this; Lock's progress was enough for the Broncos to make him the unquestioned starter for the 2020 season.
This is good news, Broncos fans, because there is a young quarterback who can go through the entire offseason knowing the job being his, instead of being forced into an artificial 'quarterback battle'.
Lock still has a lot of work to do, as John Elway said himself on Monday, but the flashes are those of a very bright future in the NFL.