The Missouri Tigers are losing superstar QB Drew Lock to the NFL Draft after this season, as his incredible four-year career as a Tiger is coming to an end.
With a ton of talent returning to the offense in 2019 — WRs Johnathon Johnson, Jalen Knox and Kam Scott; RBs Damarea Crockett, Larry Rountree III and Tyler Badie; and TE Albert Okwuegbunam, as well as some key offensive linemen — having a talented quarterback is key. And, looking at the team’s roster, there are some interesting quarterback prospects, but none ready to step in and be dominant right away.
Therefore, Missouri landing Clemson graduate transfer QB Kelly Bryant on Tuesday night was huge. OC Derek Dooley now has a smart, versatile quarterback to lead his offense next year while the Tigers continue to develop the other quarterbacks on their roster.
So, what can we expect from the Mizzou offense in 2019 with Bryant leading the way? Here’s a quick breakdown:
What he brings to the table
Bryant is a dual-threat quarterback in the truest sense of the term. While leading Clemson to the National Championship Game in 2017, he threw for 2,802 yards, 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions, adding 665 yards and 11 scores with his legs.
Clearly, he’s a strong red-zone threat with his legs, much like Lock was this season. He could use some seasoning as a passer, but he’ll have a whole offseason to work with Dooley.
How he affects Derek Dooley’s scheme
Under Dooley in 2018, the Tigers were a much more balanced team than they were in 2017 under then-OC Josh Heupel. I like to point to the Vanderbilt game as the perfect example of that. Yes, it was a close victory, but the Tigers ran for 253 yards and threw for 253 yards — incredible balance.
With Bryant next year, they may lean even more on the run, which isn’t a bad thing considering the returning talent they have. However, this is still going to be a team that can throw.
Bryant isn’t on the same level with his arm as Lock, but not many quarterbacks are. With guys like Johnson, Knox, Scott and former Arkansas WR Jonathan Nance (who also committed to the Tigers on Tuesday), there will be plenty of deep threats and guys who can make plays in space.
As long as Dooley tailors his play-calling to fit Bryant’s skills, and doesn’t try to force players into his system like Gus Malzahn at Auburn, the offense should continue to hum along.
Can the Tigers improve their win total?
Looking at the Missouri schedule for 2019, there is only one game that looks like it’ll be nearly impossible to win — at Georgia. Outside of that, every game is a winnable one, so improving on this year’s 8-4 record looks very doable.
If Bryant stays healthy and lives up to expectations, 2019 could be another great one in Columbia.