Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock has completed just 57 percent of his passes this season with six touchdowns and six interceptions. Photo from @Broncos (Twitter)
- Odds have been set on whether Drew Lock will remain the Denver Broncos’ starting quarterback in 2021
- Lock has missed 13 of 24 games in his two seasons because of thumb and shoulder injuries
- The Broncos have a 6-5 record in Lock’s starts but are just 2-4 this season
Drew Lock projects as the Denver Broncos’ quarterback of both the present and future, and there are no signs yet that his status is about to change in his second NFL season.
Nonetheless, odds have been set on whether Lock will be the Broncos’ starter when the 2021 season. The oddsmakers still favor Lock being the choice of general manager John Elway and coach Vic Fangio.
Drew Lock’s Odds to be Broncos’ Starting QB in 2021
Odds taken Nov. 11
Trying to Stop QB Carousel
The Broncos chose Lock in the second round of last year’s NFL Draft with the 42nd overall pick. Many analysts had Lock going in the first round. When Lock slipped to the second round, Elway and the Broncos pounced.
The hope was they had found a long-term answer at quarterback. It has been a position of instability since Peyton Manning retired after leading Denver to victory in the Super Bowl at the end of the 2015 season.
The Broncos cycled through Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, Brock Osweiler and Case Keenum from 2016-18. Veteran Joe Flacco was signed as a free agent to be a placeholder in 2019 while giving Lock time to develop.
Durability Remains a Question
The Broncos would seemingly be the perfect team to develop quarterbacks, considering Elway’s pedigree as a Hall of Fame.
Yet as the list above suggests, the Broncos have been unable to find Manning’s successor. Lock’s development has come in fits and starts, at least partially because of injuries.
Lock was hurt during the exhibition season last year. He was not sufficiently healed to step in as the starter when Flacco sustained a season-ending neck injury midway through the season.
Drew Lock looks on as QBs Brandon Allen and Brett Rypien stretch at #Broncos practice today. John Elway says he’s targeting Week 11 for Lock to return to practice to gauge his prospects of playing this year after suffering a thumb injury in the preseason. @AP_NFL pic.twitter.com/lB8qEL1ArF
— Arnie Stapleton (@arniestapleton) October 30, 2019
Thus, third-stringer Brandon Allen made three starts before Lock took over for the final five games.
Lock injured his shoulder this season in Week 2 during a loss to Pittsburgh Steelers. He sat out two games. Lock has been available for just 11 of 24 games so far in his young career.
Good Lock, Bad Lock
Lock showed promise in his abbreviated rookie season as the Broncos went 4-1 in his five starts.
He completed 64 percent of his passes for 1,020 yards and seven touchdowns and three interceptions.
However, Lock has not been as good this year. His completion percentage is down to 57% and he has 1,240 yards, six TDs and six picks in six games.
The Broncos fired offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello at the end of last season and replaced him with Pat Shurmur. Lock has yet to become fully comfortable in Shurmur’s scheme and the lack of an offseason because of the COVID-19 pandemic surely has been a factor.
Lock is comfortable with his dance moves, though.
Never change, @DrewLock23. 😂
(via @thecheckdown) pic.twitter.com/kcWOHCO1cN
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) November 6, 2020
While Lock’s individual splits between the first and second halves this season are minimal, the Broncos’ scoring disparity has been striking. Denver’s offense has generated just five first-half touchdowns this season and 13 in the final two quarters.
The Broncos have been forced to play faster in second halves because they have been falling behind. Lock says he would prefer to play in up-tempo offense after doing so in college.
Surveying the AFC West
The three other teams in the AFC West have their franchise quarterbacks – the Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes, the Las Vegas Raiders’ Derek Carr and the Los Angeles Chargers’ Justin Herbert.
Elway and the Broncos must ask themselves if Lock is that guy for their franchise. Sitting at 3-5, they are probably out of the sweepstakes for drafting Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields, barring either a total collapse or trading up in the first round.
According to the @fboutsiders Playoff Odds Report that simulates the NFL season 30,000 times the Broncos currently have a:
– 3.2% chance at the postseason
– No chance at a playoff win
– 16.7% chance at a top 5 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft
– .1% chance at Trevor Lawrence
— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) November 11, 2020
Lock showed enough promise last season that he should at least get the remainder of 2020 to prove himself.
It should be noted that WR1 Courtland Sutton and rookie tight end Albert Okwuegbunam – Lock’s teammate at Missouri – are out for the season. It also should be noted that Shurmur needs to tailor the offense to Lock’s strengths.
broncos have one of the youngest teams we’re starting two rookie wide receivers and a 2nd year tight end. and drew lock went 4-1 last season with sutton 🤷♂️
— Drew_Lock3 (@drew_lock3) November 9, 2020
Time will tell when the Broncos feel the need to put an end to Lock’s days as their starting quarterback, but it seems unlikely that will happen as soon as Week 1 in 2021.
John Perrotto has been covering and writing about sports for various outlets for over 40 years. His work has appeared in the likes of USA TODAY, ESPN.com, SI.com, Forbes.com, The Associated Press, Baseball Digest, and more. John is based out of Beaver Falls, PA.