With Justin Herbert returning to Oregon, Mizzou QB Drew Lock will likely be one of the first quarterbacks off the board in the 2019 NFL Draft. Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins could end up being the first quarterback taken. Or possibly Kyler Murray, if Oklahoma’s Heisman Trophy winner decides to enter by Monday’s deadline, but Lock should also go early.
There are a number of teams that need quarterbacks, and you can bet many of them will be taking good, long looks at the big-armed Tiger, who finished his career with 99 touchdown passes (good for third in SEC history) and 12,193 passing yards (second in SEC history).
The final draft order isn’t set yet, but we know which teams will be drafting early and which teams are still battling in the NFL playoffs. Below, I’ve listed three teams that would be great fits for Lock.
He might end up going to a different team, but I didn’t include squads like the Oakland Raiders, Miami Dolphins, Jacksonville Jaguars and a couple of others, because they aren’t exactly built to be good fits for Lock. With that caveat, here are three teams Lock should be hoping to hear from on draft night:
1. Denver Broncos
The Broncos have the 10th overall pick. They have a stout defense, a solid running back in 2018 rookie Phillip Lindsay and a decent offensive line, but the quarterback position was not so great this year. Case Keenum made all 16 starts, but was far from impressive, throwing for 3,890 yards, 18 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.
The passing yards were acceptable — 14th, ahead of Dak Prescott, Matthew Stafford, Cam Newton, Russell Wilson and others — but the TD/INT ratio isn’t what the Broncos need from the quarterback position, and Lock would allow whoever the new offensive coordinator ends up being under new coach Vic Fangio to open up the playbook and stretch the field. Adding another wide receiver or two would also be important, but the Broncos are a lot closer than most of the other quarterback-needy teams are to being competitive.
2. New York Giants
The Giants have the No. 6 overall pick. They drafted Penn State RB Saquon Barkley with the No. 2 overall pick in 2018, and he became an absolute star. Even as Eli Manning continued to struggle mightily as the quarterback, Barkley found plenty of room as a runner and a receiver.
Adding Lock to the mix alongside Barkley, star WR Odell Beckham Jr. and young TE Evan Engram would be exciting to see. However, the offensive line would need to be addressed before you’d feel comfortable putting Lock under center.
If Lock ends up with the Giants, the team should still start Manning for the first part of the 2019 season (and perhaps the entire year) so the former Mizzou star could develop and be ready to play when his time comes. That’s a strategy that worked for Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City, so it’s one the Giants should follow for whoever their new quarterback ends up being.
3. New England Patriots
While Lock is predicted to go in the first round of many mock drafts, some don’t have his name being called on Day 1 at all. If Lock slides, the Patriots should grab him toward the end of Round 1.
We don’t know where the Pats will be picking yet, as they’re still alive in the NFL Playoffs, but it’s sure to be in the high 20s or even in the 30-32 range. Legendary QB Tom Brady is 41 years old and will be 42 before next season starts. He might have a couple of seasons left, but he can’t play forever.
Brian Hoyer and Danny Etling probably aren’t the quarterbacks of the future in New England, but Lock could be. Sitting behind a guy with Brady’s work ethic and all-time talent for a couple of years also would help Lock develop. OC Josh McDaniels seems to be in line to take over the team when Bill Belichick retires, so there could be the sort of continuity that young quarterbacks need in order to succeed.
This is a bit of a long shot, yes, but if Lock experiences and Aaron Rodgers-like slide, the Pats should at least consider taking him and developing him as Brady’s heir.