Drew Lock's secret power?
How many current starting QBs could Drew Lock be better than? Seaside Joe 1637
This week I watched an interview with Drew Lock on the Wyman and Bob show and the first thing I was struck by was its mere existence as an episode. I can’t recall the last time the backup quarterback on the Seahawks was someone who the media wanted to speak to and speak about so regularly. Bob Stelton even starts the interview by calling like “our quarterback”.
Feel free to disagree if you think I’m misremembering or misrepresenting the perception of past Seattle quarterbacks on the depth chart, but I don’t think any of Russell Wilson’s backups were treated this way. Geno Smith certainly wasn’t. Geno wasn’t even treated this well after Wilson was traded and the Seahawks eventually brought him back in April to compete with Lock.
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It’s fair to say that Wilson’s backups never played, but neither did Drew Lock last season. Geno was the only quarterback in the NFL to take every snap. I know there was some momentum to see more of Seneca Wallace while he was backing up Matt Hasselbeck, but I can’t really compare the media now to the media then, and especially not the media in the early ‘80s when Jim Zorn and Dave Krieg were teammates.
Maybe The Seattle Times and the local sports radio wanted to talk to Dave Krieg all the time, I have no idea. But at least since Wilson won the job, I can’t remember a single backup quarterback who got any attention from anybody.
So why does it feel like Drew Lock is being treated differently, almost as if the Seahawks have two starters and that he’s only on the bench because of a technicality? Remember, Pete Carroll’s explanation for why Geno won the job last year was that Lock simply didn’t have enough time to catch up and then he missed the second preseason game—”the night of the big audition”—with a Covid diagnosis.
I’m not going to be the Seahawks writer who tells you that I know for certain that Lock should be starting for an NFL team. How could anyone be so bold?
In the past two seasons, Lock has appeared in six games, all of which came in 2021 with the Denver Broncos when he started the last three games of the season. He was bad in those games. It’s easy now to say that Lock was in a difficult situation, but I will add that he had a far better supporting cast in 2021 than what Wilson had in Denver the next season: Lock played with Javonte Williams, Tim Patrick, and Noah Fant, in addition to Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton.
He was in his second year with offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, so not learning a new offense because he had spent all of 2020 as the starter. Shurmur is considered a good offensive coordinator, just a bad head coach.
I don’t intend to throw cold water on optimism for Seattle’s backup quarterback—I want Lock to be good just as much as you do—my only intention with any article is to try and find out what the truth is; are we being careful to talk about Drew Lock as if he could be the next Geno Smith instead of as if he’s already the next Geno Smith?
And if there’s hope that Lock could be the next Geno, does that imply eagerness to already move on from the last Geno? The Geno Geno. Current Geno. The Geno that just happened and has yet to begin his second season as the starter? If Geno is replaced by Lock for any reason, and Lock is good, does that mean that the Seahawks should re-sign Lock and then look for “the next Drew Lock” to back him up so that a year from now we’re in this position of trying to already replace Drew Lock for a the next version of the previous version?
Maybe Seattle could sign Geno Smith to be the next Drew Lock after he becomes the next Geno Smith?
One reason that Lock could be so well-liked is that he sort of feels like a recent high draft pick even though he’s not really. I think because of how the last five years have gone on Earth, it almost seems like Lock was picked a year ago or two. But the 2019 draft was kind of a long time ago and maybe because Lock hasn’t played much recently, he comes off as “newer” than classmates like Kyler Murray, Clelin Ferrell, Devin Bush, and L.J. Collier. Players who seem…well, older.
It also wouldn’t make a difference to me if Lock was picked 10th or 42nd. It’s what he’s done in the NFL that matters, not his draft position. But for what it’s worth, he was picked 42nd and most second round quarterbacks don’t become starters. To me, there’s as many red flags on a second round quarterback as there are on a fifth rounder, it’s only the perception of possessing an elite tool or two that keeps those players from falling to day three.
Teams just don’t let “really good quarterback prospects” get past the first 32 draft picks, or even the first 15 usually.
So far, Lock has played pretty well in two preseason games and that could also play a small role in his popularity. However, the same could be said for rookies Aidan O’Connell, Dorian Thompson-Robinson, Tyson Bagent, and Nathan Rourke and none of those players were popular in the recent draft. You could even make cutups of Trey Lance and Zach Wilson from this preseason that would make them look like starters.
There’s absolutely nothing bad about Lock looking good over his 30 preseason pass attempts, but those plays can only go so far to raise the bar on a quarterback’s value.
He’s expected to play a lot of snaps again on Saturday against the Green Bay Packers and if that is indeed the case, then I support that idea because even if there was an injury scare against the Dallas Cowboys, the Seahawks need as much evidence on film as possible of what Drew Lock can do. Not just for their own sake, but also in case teams start calling Seattle about his availability.
If Lock is seen as the best quarterback of the preseason (statistically, he’s been one of the top-five at least, up there with O’Connell, DTR, Sam Howell, and…Shane Buechele) then maybe a desperate team will see him as an option who does have some desirable attributes:
He’s 26, but he’s experienced
Many teams may have had a solid second round grade on Lock
He won’t be expensive
There is a perception that he’s matured from his past experiences
Shane Waldron’s offense should translate well around the league
Lock started 21 games in Denver, but he’s also now added a year of experience where he was on a better team and a better environment, even if he didn’t play. His contract has a $1.74 million base salary and no further commitment. Though nobody drafted him in the first round, Lock should be well known by most executives around the league because he was once talked about as a potential top-10 pick so they should have done a lot of studying on him at Missouri.
And Waldron comes from the Sean McVay coaching tree, which makes Seattle offensive cousins with the Rams, Vikings, Bengals, Packers, and Panthers, but also kind of the 49ers, Lions, Dolphins, and Texans, at least. Plus Lock has a relationship with Bucs offensive coordinator Dave Canales.
I don’t think Lock would have a difficult time transitioning to most teams, if that became a possibility.
Why even talk about it as a possibility?
Well, it is still true that Geno Smith is signed for the next three seasons and Lock is only signed for 2023. I’m not suggesting that the Seahawks should trade Lock—there’s no way that Seattle could be comfortable with Holton Ahlers as the backup this season, right?—but what would you do if you were the GM and something like this happened: The Vikings start 5-0 but then Kirk Cousins is injured and Minnesota is terrified of playing Nick Mullens or Jaren Hall, so they start asking about Drew Lock?
Would you say, “No, we don’t know if maybe this year we’ll actually need him at some point so I can’t even listen to your best offer!”
Or…would you listen to the best offer?
There’s no need to hear the offer if you think the Seahawks need Lock and/or if you want him to be the next in line to start. He’s going to be a free agent in 2024, he’s under no obligation to re-sign with Seattle again and there may not be any compensatory draft picks going to the Seahawks if he leaves.
Pop Quiz Hot Shot: In Drew Lock’s senior season at Missouri, he led the team to an 8-5 record. But in Week 6, Lock ran into top-ranked Alabama and lost 39-10. How many future NFL players can you name from the 2018 Alabama team that went 14-1 and beat a Missouri team that only had one or two notable future NFL players?
Really though, that’s not the idea I’m most interested in exploring. What I’m most interested in is the question of how many teams might have starting quarterbacks who are worse than Drew Lock this season.
Last offseason, way before training camp even started, I wrote that either Geno or Lock might actually be top-20 quarterbacks. Not because I was that confident in either of them, only because I’m never confident that there are 20 good quarterbacks in the league. To be 20th, you essentially only have to be good enough to not be benched. That was basically Geno’s season. He was good enough to get another season and he ended up being better than quite a few quarterbacks who were not.
It may not be that hard for Lock, even as a backup, to be more intriguing as a starter than some current starters.
Bryce Young, Panthers
C.J. Stroud, Texans
Anthony Richardson, Colts
We will leave the rookies out of it because we know that they’re not necessarily starting because they’re expected to be the best options right now. They’re just the necessary options right now.
The 2020/2021 QBs
Justin Fields, Bears
Mac Jones, Patriots
Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins
I know Justin Fields rushed for a lot of yards and has a lot of fans, but I don’t think there’s any quarterback who can be that far below average as a passer during his first two seasons and keep his job if he does it for a third year. Jones hasn’t been that much more productive as a passer and he doesn’t rush the ball at all.
Miami is the spot that any quarterback who can call his destination is going to want to go to next year if Tua doesn’t keep the job. Leave performance out of it for now, he’s never even started 14 games in a season. Imagine Drew Lock on the Dolphins right now, I wonder how people would perceive that fit and if Lock would be talked about similar to how Sam Darnold is being treated in San Francisco.
On the fence
Baker Mayfield, Bucs
Sam Howell, Moons
Desmond Ridder, Falcons
Jordan Love, Packers
Kenny Pickett, Steelers
Cardinals starting QB
Russell Wilson, Broncos
Brock Purdy, 49ers
I think any of these players could be benched. I’m sure at least a few of them will be good, but I’m sure at least a few of them will be benched. That’s all I’m saying. That’s why I’m on the fence!
Russell Wilson/Matt Ryan potential fall
Jared Goff, Lions
Derek Carr, Saints
Jimmy Garoppolo, Raiders
Ryan Tannehill, Titans
Deshaun Watson, Browns
Dak Prescott, Cowboys
Kirk Cousins, Vikings
Matthew Stafford, Rams
Geno Smith, Seahawks
Good luck being an expensive veteran in the NFL. Either you’re really expensive and you’re not worth it (risk for Watson, Prescott, Cousins, Stafford, Wilson) or you’re relatively cheap for your position and you could still not be worth it.
If you think Carr, Garroppolo, and Geno are cheap, just think about Drew Lock. His contract is worth up to $4 million! The Seahawks just got a Pro Bowl season out of Geno for that much. So Carr’s not “cheap” if he plays like he did on the Raiders last season. He’s a massive overpay.
I’m not even going to exclude Geno from this list because that’s where he sits today. He can either establish himself as the long-term answer like he says he’s going to do, or the Seahawks can find out what they have in Lock.
You know what, I think I’ve figured it out now. Maybe that’s why people in Seattle are treating Lock the way that they’re treating him recently. Because instead of one shot at Geno Smith, you get two shots at Geno Smith. Not many other teams have someone like Lock to fall back on…which is also why it could get interesting if any of them call the Seahawks and ask if they can have a quarterback like Drew Lock to fall back on.
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Answer: QB Tua Tagovailoa, QB Jalen Hurts, (DNP: QB Mac Jones), RB Damien Harris, RB Josh Jacobs, RB Najee Harris, RB Brian Robinson, WR Jerry Jeudy, WR Henry Ruggs III, WR Jaylen Waddle, WR DeVonta Smith, TE Irv Smith Jr., OL Alex Leatherwood, OL Jonah Williams, OL Jedrick Wills, DT Quinnen Williams, DT Christian Barmore, DT Isaiah Buggs, DT Raekwon Davis, DT Phidarian Mathis, LB Christian Miller, CB Trevon Diggs, CB Patrick Surtain II, S Xavier McKinney
Vs. Drew Lock and Nick Bolton. Seems like a fair fight.