Denver Broncos: Drew Lock’s depth chart impact
The Denver Broncos didn’t draft Drew Lock to be an immediate starter, but how does the QB depth chart look now and for the future with him in the fold?
The Denver Broncos traded up in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft to take Missouri quarterback Drew Lock.
As John Elway has stated in the past, he’s not done swinging at the risk of missing at the quarterback position. Will Lock be another whiff or will he be a home run?
Time will tell.
Because of the Broncos’ acquisition of Joe Flacco earlier in the offseason as well as the re-signing of veteran Kevin Hogan, it remains uncertain whether or not Lock will be the team’s backup immediately or if he will have to wait behind Hogan in addition to Flacco.
The Broncos are committed to Flacco for this season, at least.
Let’s take a look at the Broncos’ depth chart at the quarterback position prior to the acquisition of Lock (as well as rookie free agent Brett Rypien).
1. Joe Flacco
2. Kevin Hogan
3. Garrett Grayson
The Broncos traded a fourth-round pick for Flacco and convinced Hogan to come back on a one-year contract this offseason, and also signed Garrett Grayson to a reserve/futures contract.
Flacco was brought in for his playoff pedigree. The thinking here is simple: If the Broncos can fight their way to a playoff berth, they feel they have a quarterback with ice in his veins come January.
The tough part is going to be getting there, and not getting there is part of the reason Flacco was Wally Pipped in Baltimore by Lamar Jackson. How long will he last in Denver? Are John Elway and the Broncos coaches completely overrating him, or will a change of scenery be just what the doctor ordered?
Kevin Hogan played well in last year’s preseason for the Redskins, including a game against the Broncos. The Broncos brought in Hogan as their QB3 last year behind Case Keenum and Chad Kelly, and when Kelly got into trouble off the field, Hogan stuck as the number two.
He must have done enough in practices to warrant another look from this front office. The Broncos gave Hogan a decent $300,000 signing bonus but that number, in no way, guarantees his roster spot.
Grayson was signed to the practice squad last year and to a reserve/futures contract this year.
Let’s take a look at the Broncos’ projected depth chart at the QB position post-draft.
1. Joe Flacco
2. Kevin Hogan
3. Drew Lock
4. Brett Rypien
Lock will likely have to work his way up from the third spot on the quarterback depth chart and unless Flacco is hurt, it’s likely he will ascend no higher than QB2 on this list.
John Elway said the Broncos were going to go into camp with four quarterbacks on the roster, and that’s exactly what they’re doing with Rypien replacing Garrett Grayson.
What’s the best case scenario for the Broncos from here?
At least in the short-term, the best case scenario is that all four of these guys play well in the opportunities they are given, and Hogan draws some trade interest around the league allowing the Broncos to recoup some kind of value instead of just cutting him, while Lock and Rypien lock down the QB2 and QB3 jobs behind Flacco.
For the longer term?
The hope here is that Lock would replace Joe Flacco sooner than later. The Kansas City Chiefs set somewhat of a blueprint for QBs needing a year to develop, and the Broncos should strive to follow suit.
What did that plan involve?
The Chiefs started Alex Smith every regular season game but one in 2017, letting Mahomes start a meaningless week 17 regular season game before the playoffs. Things didn’t turn out well for them in the playoffs, but that loss likely put the wheels in motion on Mahomes taking Smith’s job for good.
If Flacco plays well enough this year for the Broncos to win, what would happen beyond this season? Would the Broncos really eat his $20.25 million cap hit next offseason with no dead money if they cut or trade him?
I’m not so sure, especially not if they think Lock is ready.
There may not be an ideal situation which includes both winning and getting Lock into the fray as soon as possible, but we’re holding out hope.