Matt Waldman’s Rookie Scouting Portfolio examines the game of Missouri QB Drew Lock, a 2019 NFL Draft prospect.
I listen to the draft community’s thoughts about the relative value of quarterback classes from one draft to the next. Then I file it away as noise. As an evaluator of talent, all that cursory analysis does is create bias in the heads of fans and media.
If I paid meaningful attention to the noise, I’d write off Drew Lock before I looked at the tape because this class isn’t supposed to be anywhere as good as the past two years of passers. I’d also write off Lock because he’s playing at Missouri and the Tigers haven’t been an assembly line for NFL starters at the position.
Instead, I do what I always do — pay meaningful attention to the film — and there are promising elements to Lock’s game.
The rising senior has a big arm, vertical accuracy, and confidence to target tight windows on boundary throws. While the opposite hash throw is nowhere near the end-all-be-all of NFL quarterback play, Lock throws a lot of opposite-field targets in the Missouri offense and it’s an effective way of horizontally stretching a defense that is a fundamental part of the spread offense.
It would be a mistake to label Lock a big-armed grunt. He also displays touch and placement in the shallow and intermediate game. What’s missing too often is anticipation.
When Lock is off-target — or will be off-target early in his NFL career if not addressed — he waits too long to deliver the open route. The root of his issue is a conceptual one: Lock must be quicker to process the advantageous leverage that the coverage reveals pre-snap and within the first full second post-snap.
Quicker and more accurate processing of coverage will help Lock stay with routes longer, disguise his intentions, and avoid reckless decisions in lieu of efficient and productive choices.
I’ll be adding to this Twitter thread as Lock’s senior year unfolds. You can find it on my Moments link on my Twitter Profile @mattwaldman.
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