Broncos: Why most Drew Lock replacement options don’t make sense

Nov 15, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) yells out from the line of scrimmage against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 15, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) yells out from the line of scrimmage against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Many have been shouting from the rooftops for Denver Broncos GM George Paton to replace Drew Lock and with a very good offseason, some have even said that doing so makes Denver a Super Bowl contender.

I’ve not given up on Lock but let’s break down potential replacements and exactly why I think they don’t make any sense for the Denver Broncos present and/or future.

Deshaun Watson– A popular one throughout the league and social media with some insisting that he instantly transforms the Broncos into a contender regardless of the cost.

First of all the cost has always seemed too high (before the new allegations came about). The Broncos are building toward a return to NFL prominence for years to come and giving up the players, draft capital, and cap space involved in obtaining Watson is simply a risk the team can’t take.

Watson with a depleted team void of identity went 4-12 last year.

Opinion: Insanity, Unlikely and should be written off 

Trevor Lawrence– Untouchable. I’ll skip this one.

Justin Fields– As intriguing as Fields’ talent is, the best reason to move on is they probably can’t get him (without an arm and a leg anyway).

Mock drafts are all over the place, but he’s the 2nd or 3rd quarterback off the board commonly going second overall and sometimes third. In other cases, Fields might drop to 8 with the Panthers taking him.

On top of that his mostly brilliant 2020 campaign is littered with subpar play against Alabama,  Northwestern, and Indiana. I’m not doubting Fields as a prospect, but I would say there are enough question marks to not give up multiple first-round picks to move up and get him.

Opinion: Of this year’s QB’s that Denver could nab Fields looks to be the best odds for a franchise guy, but the draft capital likely required to snag him would cost too much                        

Zach Wilson– Again this is a player with exciting talent and potential, but much the same as Fields, Wilson’s list of suitors may be the biggest reason Denver doesn’t take him. He is either 2nd or 3rd in most mock drafts for QBs off the board and often lands in the top 3.

The draft capital to pick him would set Denver back a couple of years. That coupled with the fact that only 2020 really stands out as a superb season that season featured only two ranked opponents, one being Coastal Carolina against whom Wilson struggled.      

Opinion: Much the same situation as Fields with less game film and lesser opponents               

Trey Lance– Excuse me for sounding like a broken record, but again, wow what talent and what potential. With that said, Trey Lance may be the biggest risk/reward in the draft.

He may be the most exciting QB within Denver’s reach yet wait…there’s a reason he may be available. While Lance’s stats are absolutely phenomenal in 2019 it was just one season and it was at North Dakota State. With all due respect to an established and historic FCS program, he simply didn’t play anyone from which to effectively judge his performance.

Opinion: Simply just too much unknown with a short resume and only one game in 2020 doesn’t warrant risking a top 10 pick 

Mac Jones– The biggest benefactor of Alabama’s dominating championship run, Mac Jones is suddenly very much in the fold for 1st round quarterbacks. Someone will take a shot on him.

Mac deserves it after a flat-out incredible year with Alabama. The statistics cannot be overlooked and he showed his strengths of accuracy and intelligence against the best of the best in college football.

I have nothing bad to say about Jones other than he was off the radar of most scouts and mock drafters until recently due to the belief that his physical traits were simply not elite by any measure.

Jones may well succeed in the right situation, but I question his fit with a young Denver team in a league where mobility has proven to be a necessity to succeed.

Opinion: Mac Jones may be the guy nobody saw coming under the right circumstance, but top 10 reaching for that diamond in the rough is reckless                                                                     

Sam Darnold– I haven’t given up on any of the recent high pedigree young quarterbacks that their original team has cast off and that includes Darnold.

He too has flashed, and in fact, when the Jets played the Broncos last year he looked to be the only thing propping up a terrible offense, but his statistics are comparable to the season Lock put up that disappointed the masses.

To give up picks just to bring him in and hope for the best doesn’t make sense.

Opinion: Darnold may well be something in this league, but so may Drew Lock. One of them is on the Broncos roster and has a rapport with his team

Marcus Mariota– Mariota had the talent and resume to be the apple of everyone’s eye in 2015. Drafted right behind the sure thing Jameis Winston, Mariota started strong, but injuries cut his time short in Tennessee after a great 2016 campaign.

He has only put up pedestrian numbers and is now in a backup role in Las Vegas with a single nice performance in relief being his only game of 2020.

Opinion: Mariota may too find a new home and flourish, but the cost to trade for him and the QB controversy to ensue may not benefit anyone

Gardner Minshew- Hey I like the guy and that mustache is a thing of legend. His stats are respectable though never outstanding, although they haven’t translated to winning football.

If Minshew were available as a competent backup I’d pull the trigger, but if you mean to undermine any potential progress Drew Lock can have as a franchise QB with an open QB contest especially via a trade I say no deal.

Opinion: Minshew is a feel-good story, fun to watch, and a guy that may have a career well above his draft pedigree, but you don’t give up on Lock for that. If Jags would take a 7th and it’s as Lock’s backup I guess I can get on board.

Alex Smith– Perhaps the most logical solution as a guy that won’t screw this thing up, and if the Broncos are letting the defense carry things, Smith makes sense.

However, I’ve heard Smith wants a legitimate chance to start and I think to take Drew Lock’s keys away and offer them to anything less than an instant, proven, sure-fire upgrade is a mistake and only takes away from his growth and that of the Broncos young offense.

Opinion: I’d love to see Alex Smith come in here with the understanding that it is Drew Lock’s job to lose. If that’s the case and Lock flounders he could win some games. If it presents an open QB competition then I say sorry Alex, but Drew is our guy. 

None of the aforementioned veterans make any sense to me unless they are a fallback plan and/or backup.

Veterans taking over and outperforming Lock seems like a long shot. To give up draft picks in order to draft one of the top three QB’s and/or take a flyer on Lance or Jones in lieu of drafting the best available talent in a draft sure to produce top tier talent following a quarterback frenzy seems wasteful to me for a talented team with an unknown talent in Drew Lock.