NFL.com's QB Rankings Missed Something Crucial About Broncos' Drew Lock

Chad Jensen

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. 

Follow Chad on Twitter @ChadNJensen and @MileHighHuddle.

Comments (35)
No. 1-26
broncofan55555
broncofan55555

Football prognosticators are about as accurate as meteorologists. In fact, weather men have a much better shot at getting it right because they at least have oodles of historical data to help make judgement calls. Rosenthal is trying to predict the future of a QB based a tiny bit of info. It's a fool's errand. If he had any common sense, he would say that Lock has shown promise but the jury is still out on him given his small sample size.

Mike303
Mike303

Why you keep saying that Harris is unsigned?When he signed a 1 year deal with the broncos.

Brew77
Brew77

It’s not so much the ranking yes 27 may be a little low but Drew has only had 5 starts so he is still raw and unproven. We have all seen other young QB’s start fast and then flame out I don’t believe that will be Drew but whatever. But for these media know it alls to keep telling Denver they must sign worthless QB’s who by the way no other team has signed is ridiculous! Winston is a head case and a turnover machine and Newton has been injured for the past 3 years and is the most selfish egotistical me me player in the NFL! Neither of these QB’s are better than Lock at this present time and Denver doesn’t need to waste any more time signing washed up QB’s Joe Flacco anyone!

BleedOrange
BleedOrange

Thanks for defending our lads, Chad. Nice article.

BeGoodBroncos
BeGoodBroncos

yea Rosenthall is wrong. Didn't even attempt to make an informed opinion. Who cares about the "cow town" lol

W/e gregg

Drew Lock has "it". Whether he will be, remains to be seen. 5 games in gregg. Do some research. You look like a fool with this shoddy crap.

BleedOrange
BleedOrange

First 5 games of each:
Haskins 1-4
Murray 1-3-1
Jones 2-3
Minshew 3-2
Lock 4-1
Even over the same sample size, Lock is the most winning of all of them. It's just lazy journalism IMO.

BearBnB
BearBnB

I would be interested in seeing the MHH staff put together a list of top QBs. Where do you think Lock would rank?

Denverkewl
Denverkewl

Anyone recommending Winston doesn't deserve to be an analyst or is a Raider fan...

Denver_guy
Denver_guy

Maybe he was going off stats and not wins. I guess the 204 yards a game wasn’t impressing him

Barry Jeffries
Barry Jeffries

I can see placing Lock behind Murray, and maybe Jones and Minshew because he started fewer games, but placing him behind Haskins is laughable.

Sinceiwasalilboy
Sinceiwasalilboy

Awesome write! Well said and the logic is sound. You "DREW" it up well!

BroncoSanto
BroncoSanto

The Jury is still out on Drew Lock, we can all agree on that. I’m jacked that Chad has his back while at the same time recognizing there’s work to be done for Lock.

As for Greg, he’s pretty respected, and probably looking for a spark during these hard times in the world right now.

Kind of like the spark we found in Drew Lock. He made a season of “what am I watching” into a season of “I can’t wait to watch”. Now he didn’t do it alone. Guys like Alexander Johnson, Courtland Sutton, Justin Simmons, etc., really growing into theirs own also helped. However, QB1, did not disappoint.

None of those other qb’s are better than Lock and all of them made some bonehead rookie plays at some point. Wins aren’t easy to come by in this league and is 4 out of 5 as a starter, that means something. Certainly more than being the 27th ranked QB.

Look for a spark somewhere else Greg, because we’re good in Denver. Jameis and Cam?...C’mon Man!!!

smilinassassin
smilinassassin

Yes, the team that was just burned in consecutive seasons by Case Keenum and Joe Flacco would be “CRAZY” not sign Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, or Jameis Winston. I mean, what kind of “plan B” are you talking about here? Hoping to get an 8-8 season if Lock doesn’t work out? What the hell kind of thought process is that Greggggg?

Jimiyu
Jimiyu

The fact that he ranked Murray at #6 is proof enough that Rosenthal was throwing darts in the dark. If it's based on past performance, there is nothing to suggest Murray should be anywhere near the top-10....and if he's attempting to extrapolate future performance, the same holds true. Murray's stats were similar to Jones' with arguably-comparable offensive weapons and coaching. No way should he be outside of the 20's.

Side note: the #27 ranking on Lock COULD be reasonable if the criteria for his ranking held true to the rest of the young QB's. Jones' and Minshew's rankings - relative to Lock - are reasonable given the larger sample size. The Haskins ranking is almost as laughable as Murray's because Haskins has shown almost nothing in a small sample size.

HAYSTACKU
HAYSTACKU

If he new anything about the game he would be in the game. Lazy journalism

B'wana Beast
B'wana Beast

The article has internal inconsistencies. When that happens the rules become meaningless. Lock has 3 years left on a rookie deal and is aged to go into his prime at the end of the deal. Sam Darnold of the Jets (east coast player) is ten slot above lock at 17. Let’s assume they think the jets and broncos have the same talent. Still Darnold has three year left in his rookie deal with the 5th year option at pick #3. Lock had a higher completion percentage. Darnold played 8 more games but only threw 2004 yards more with 19-13 TD to INT. I think it shows the bias of the east well.

Choibake
Choibake

To say the analysis was massive shade, was pure click bait. All he is saying is there were better proven back ups theN Driscoll who could be plan B on what looks like a pretty good team. Let’s hope they even have a season. Stop the SI clickbait already though please.

RMS
RMS

I was surprised Drew Lock was ranked higher than 34-35, given the skewed sense the sports pundit crowd has long held about the team. They thought Cam walked on water 5 years ago and would drown Denver in the Super Bowl. Now one of them wails at Elway and company for going all in on Lockdown, and demands they pay whiner #2, Cam -- Tom B is Whiner #1 -- to save us? That's a virus to ignore, and laugh at till our masks fall off.

VinSinz Bronko
VinSinz Bronko

I'm curious what he had to say about the kid in KC after his single start/game his rookie year. There has to be doubter analysts, that's how you get read. How many positive articles have to be written before you realize you're reading the same thing and stop reading. Long time bronco fans should know by now that there's no benefit of the doubt when it comes from east coast biased media. Look at our successful history and the lack hof presence decided by that same media biased. A true bronco always shines best when over looked and let "chip" guide their shoulder and the rest of their body with actions and success on the field, where it matters. Remember the expert that said we would win 2 games in 19/20. Feeding crow is always funner the eating it.

jammy4041
jammy4041

Well the other thing was, that it was supposed to be an exercise in which QB he'd have at their current price. So, given that Haskins hasn't looked better, it would follow that Lock should be ranked at least higher than him. And given his contract, Lock should have at least been ranked ahead of Daniel Jones as well. I really like Teddy Bridgewater, but $21m APY? I like the team-friendly structure, with options and per game-roster process, but more than some of the QBs behind him? That's a weird one for me.

The premise of the article was good, but there were a lot of weird inconsistencies. Baker Mayfield at #10, Sam Darnold at #17. Putting Wentz at #5, and then suggesting a four year, $32m APY with $108m guaranteed is a "modest discount." Saying Aaron Rodgers' best days are probably behind him and suggesting his "contract lacks flexibility" and then ranking him 8th? Tannehill being vastly overpaid and still being put at #20? weird list.

VonAndChubb
VonAndChubb

That's why you let the analyst be analyst. No matter what a team does they all talk until they get on the field so let them. Broncos nation should already know how it feels to be underappreciated. 2015 season for a whole month all we heard throughtout the world was the broncos will lose to the Steelers this week. Then it was there's no way Denver gets past the Patriots this week. Then two weeks later it was no way Denver can stop cam Newton and Panthers or slow them down to make this a game and look how stupid all those analyst look now. SUPERBOWL 50 CHAMPIONS. So let them talk it's all fuel. And f.y.i Drew Locke showed some great traits to show me he is a leader. I haven't seen that from simien keenum or flacco so im convinced that he is going to be the best option. I have faith in Locke and Fangio.

VonAndChubb
VonAndChubb

At the end of the day every owner coach and analyst in the world knows what good play results in. At the end of the day did Drew lock help us win games yes. Did the other QBs mentioned do that absolutely not.

Gmancan03
Gmancan03

Greg who? I’ve seen every Bronco QB since Craig Morton. Drew Lock not only has the “IT” factor but he is the Leader the team has so desperately needed! Give him 2 more “speed” offensive weapons and give Munchak one more year with the Oline and before it’s over? My prediction:
3 SB wins
2 League MVP
9 All pro
HOF and ROF
I take my chances on that happening more than the 27th best QB!
Let’s go scalp those Chiefs! Lol

DRWard
DRWard

Great read, thanks. I think a rating on Lock in the low 20s would have been more fair.


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