Drew Lock: 5 reasons Broncos fans should be keeping the faith

Denver Broncos QB #3 Drew Lock. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos QB #3 Drew Lock. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /
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Drew Lock, Denver Broncos
Nov 1, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) attempts a pass in the third quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

1. Drew Lock is good enough to deserve time

The Denver Broncos got Drew Lock with the 42nd pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Even considering some of Lock’s struggles early on, it’s a wonder he wasn’t a first-round pick.

Lock was a four-year starter at Missouri in the SEC. He had plenty of production, including a junior season that included an SEC-record 44 touchdown passes (since been broken by Joe Burrow’s 60 in 2020).

Even with some of his mechanical concerns and flaws, Lock’s production collegiately, athleticism, size, and intangible qualities were those of a first-round quarterback. There have definitely been worse and less-proven guys at the collegiate level picked higher than 42nd overall.

Lock has certainly flashed his best traits through 10 full games in the NFL between two different offensive systems. He has shown off his tremendous arm strength. He has proven he can make tight-window throws. He has proven he can drive the ball down the field. His fourth-quarter comeback against the Los Angeles Chargers (and Herbert) was the best comeback for the Broncos since Peyton Manning’s road comeback in San Diego back in 2012.

Lock has three games with three total touchdowns in his first 11 NFL starts.

The last time the Broncos drafted a quarterback with as much talent and potential as Lock was Jay Cutler in 2006. It took Cutler 11 games just to get one three-touchdown performance, and his second one didn’t come until his 18th start. His third three-touchdown game was in start number 23.

The Broncos were also 5-6 in Cutler’s first 11 starts. Even if you include the game Lock hurt his shoulder in Pittsburgh, they are 6-5 in his first 11 games.

When Lock came out of Missouri, he was expected to need time to really develop. What’s the right amount of time in today’s NFL? We’ll get into that more a bit later, but it’s not uncommon for quarterbacks to take lumps for a couple of seasons before things finally start to slow down for them.

A mix of brilliant plays and head-scratching mistakes is not altogether surprising at this point in Lock’s NFL development, at least it shouldn’t be. He should be allowed the time to make mistakes, learn from them, and improve steadily. He should not be expected to transform into an elite NFL quarterback overnight, as nice as that would be.