For the most part, Denver Broncos fans really have nothing to complain about when it comes to the team's quarterback play through the years. John Elway became one of the NFL's all-time greats as he started from 1983-1998. In the 17 years that followed, the Broncos had a variety of Pro Bowl players at the QB position, including Brian Griese, Jake Plummer, Jay Cutler, and Hall of Famer Peyton Manning. Despite some dud seasons with Kyle Orton at the helm and the Tim Tebow year in 2011, that was also a rather prosperous time in franchise history.
But the post-John Elway days have not all been good. In fact, some have been embarrassing, especially recently. Denver Broncos fans are currently experiencing an unprecedented drought of strong quarterback play for their beloved team. Russell Wilson was supposed to fix that last year but absolutely did not.
So who have been the team's worst QBs in the post-Elway era? For this, we're going to look only at closed chapters, so Russell Wilson doesn't qualify. We're also not going to look at one-offs, to players like Jeff Driskel, Chris Simms, and Brandon Allen are safe. This list is limited to players who were starters, or were expected to be starters, who simply stunk.
These are the three worst QBs in the post-John Elway era for the Denver Broncos.
3 worst QBs in the post-John Elway era for the Denver Broncos
3. Drew Lock (2019-2021)
It absolutely pains me to say this because I was a major advocate for Drew Lock when he was coming out of Missouri. I loved what he did in college and I thought he had a chance to be really good in the NFL if he could clean up a few things with his game. To be fair to Drew Lock, you never know what could happen in Seattle. I won't close the book on a story that's still being written.
But as far as his time with the Denver Broncos is concerned? There's really only one way to view it: Disastrous.
Drew Lock's rookie year was extremely promising. He showed off some playmaking skills in the preseason before suffering a hand injury that would land him on IR until late in the season. When he finally took over late in the 2019 campaign, Lock looked quite good, actually. He helped the Broncos to a strong 4-1 finish that season, completing over 64 percent of his passes with seven touchdowns and just three interceptions.
It was all downhill from there, however.
After getting the starting gig for the 2020 season, Lock began an unfortunate downward trajectory. With the occasional good game mixed in, he completed just 57.9 percent of his passes from 2020-2021 -- 19 games in total -- with 18 touchdown passes, 17 interceptions, five rushing touchdowns, and 10 fumbles in that timeframe.
He lost the starting gig to Teddy Bridgewater in 2021, and would get the chance to play late in the season, only proving that the Broncos needed to go in a different direction. Lock just could never find the consistent accuracy in Denver, and while the lack of success from the team wasn't completely his fault for this stretch of time, I think it became clearer the more Lock took the field that he simply wasn't the player the Broncos thought he was at the end of the 2019 season.