The Denver Broncos got it painfully wrong with Drew Lock. It's becoming abundantly clear. The former second-round pick out of Missouri certainly has his share of borderline Tebow-like supporters out there, and on the other end of the spectrum, he also has his share of Tebow-like haters. Some people in Broncos Country piled years of frustration at the QB position on his apparent on-field failures and many rejoiced when he was included in the Russell Wilson trade with the Seahawks.
Many fans and analysts alike had written off Drew Lock as any sort of competent NFL quarterback -- starting or otherwise -- but the reality is, Lock's career is far from over and he still has ample time to grow into a much better player than we saw when he was in Denver.
Yes, it's the preseason, but Drew Lock is balling out as a member of the Seattle Seahawks right now. He looks like a much better player out there than he was in Denver.
Lock was in a battle for the starting job last year at this time with Geno Smith, who ended up winning the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award, throwing for over 4,000 yards and playing out of his mind compared to the guy we saw once upon a time with the Jets. Smith won the job in what appeared to be a very tight battle, one that was seemingly decided by the fact that Lock had to miss one of the Seahawks' preseason games due to COVID.
What a time...
So the Seahawks rolled with Geno Smith, and it worked out for them. They made the playoffs, Geno won some hardware, he also made a Pro Bowl, and he got paid a lot of money. Lock's contract expired, but he returned to Seattle anyway, and he appears to have rehabbed his value to the point that he could have legitimate free agent interest in 2024 once again.
Now, I can already see the nasty comments and emails coming in.
It's the preseason, it doesn't matter. He's doing it against backups. He is in his fifth NFL season, he should be playing well in the preseason.
The reality is, if Lock were playing poorly in the preseason, his detractors would be piling on him for it. When he plays well, he doesn't get credit for it because it's "just" the preseason. It's funny how that works, isn't it?
The reality is, Lock got into a situation in Seattle that is obviously better for quarterbacks based on what we've seen transpiring there over the last handful of years. Once he got into that situation, he began growing and developing positively, and we're seeing fruit of the positive growth. Too many people are being overly critical of Lock because of the name on the back of his jersey instead of evaluating what we're actually seeing.
Just because he was erratic with the Denver Broncos doesn't mean he's automatically going to be the same guy in Seattle. He's only 26 years old, and growth in the NFL is rarely -- if ever -- linear.
The problem that we can now see in hindsight is that people who complained about Lock's circumstances in Denver being a primary reason for things not working out were right. At least, it's looking that way. It's way too early to say that definitively, but look at the growth Lock has shown. It won't be long now before he gets another starting opportunity in the NFL and we'll see how much he's really grown at that point, but until that time, it seems safe to say that the combination of factors leading to his just being another name on the Broncos QB carousel were largely self-inflicted by the team.
The Broncos didn't get Lock proper coaching nor did the coaching staff put the proper backing behind him. Unfortunately, this is the result of the Seahawks being a much more stable organization. We didn't see Seattle turn Paxton Lynch's career around, but Lock has never lacked intangibles like Lynch did. Lock has always seemingly been someone who works hard and is willing to learn from mistakes. He's the most talented QB the Broncos have had in the post-Peyton Manning era, but the Broncos' instability as an organization caused the team to be impatient with Lock's development because coaching jobs were on the line.
Pete Carroll has pretty tremendous job security and we saw him flex that job security by turning a Drew Lock/Geno Smith QB battle into a playoff appearance.
The Broncos didn't have that stability and therefore didn't really have the right environment for Lock to grow properly. He was anointed as the franchise QB too soon, and he was given up on too quickly. He wasn't properly surrounded in the coaching department. He wasn't supported well as a franchise QB in waiting.
From his rookie season, the Broncos mismanaged Drew Lock and hopefully, he's able to overcome all of that and still carve out a successful NFL career.