John Elway has really struggled to find the right quarterback to lead the Broncos. He hopes that Drew Lock is going to reverse that trend.
Outside of making the easy decision to sign Peyton Manning, John Elway’s record of picking quarterbacks for the Broncos is pretty lousy. The likes of Brock Osweiler, Paxton Lynch and Case Keenum cast a real pall on Elway’s resume. The Broncos head man is hoping that drafting Drew Lock can drastically alter that narrative.
Elway isn’t ready to call Lock his franchise’s quarterback of the future, but he does admit that “hopefully he can become that guy in the future.” The former Missouri signal caller isn’t expected to compete with Joe Flacco for the starting spot this season, but all bets are off beginning with the 2020 campaign.
In fairness to Elway, the price he paid to obtain Lock might be the least he’s ever invested in a starting quarterback not named Manning. Denver did trade up to draft Lock, but he was still a second round draft pick. That means he’ll be a very affordable player for the Broncos throughout his rookie contract.
That doesn’t mean that Elway doesn’t have a lot riding on Lock. If he fails to develop into a quality starter it’s likely going to convince everyone associated with Denver that Elway doesn’t have what it takes to evaluate the game’s most important position. That may seem strange given the success Elway had playing the position, but he certainly wouldn’t be the first former player to struggle to transition successfully to the front office.
Lock certainly has the arm talent to be a good NFL quarterback, but the inconsistent footwork he played with in college caused plenty of scouts to express concern about his ability to play at the next level. The Broncos were not one of the teams put off by Lock’s questionable technique. Elway has been clear that he was the number one quarterback on his team’s board heading into the draft.
Even if that’s a bit of an exaggeration, it’s clear the Broncos really like Lock’s physical gifts. They wouldn’t have traded up to grab him if they weren’t big fans of his potential. His college tape does show a quarterback who can make high level throws when he’s given even a little bit of time and space in the pocket.
Add it all up and Lock is a developmental talent with a high ceiling for the Broncos to work with. His development may ultimately define Elway’s legacy as a front office executive with Denver. That’s a heavy load for a rookie, second rounder, but it’s precisely the situation Lock finds himself in. Time will tell if he makes Elway look like a genius or simply becomes his latest erroneous evaluation at the quarterback position.