This offseason has been dubbed as the ‘offseason of Drew Lock’, after the moves Denver has made on the coaching and offensive system front, the offensive line, and most visibly the wide receiving corp in the draft, the Broncos are intent on giving the young passer everything he needs to be successful.
In turn, the obvious goal is that the overall offense itself would be more successful than the previous several outings. Just the fact that this is Denver’s first offseason since 2015 where they will be begin the season with an incumbent QB who they know is the starter is a positive first step.
With all that, Broncos Country, and particularly Joe Rowles and I over on Cover 2 Broncos have spent a decent amount of time digging into Lock’s last five games and hypothesizing what he could look like heading into the 2020 season.
What’s fun is when an expert out in the Football Twittersphere and our interests align, and we have the opportunity to get some outside perspective on something we as Broncos fans want as much insight as we can possibly get. Which leads us to today’s episode of Cover 2 Broncos.
Derrik Klassen is a QB and film guru both on draft prospects who have come out over the years as well as current NFL QBs. He writes for Football Outsiders as well as breaks down QB tape on Twitter quite regularly. He was also just included in a recent Athletic article as one of the top 50 NFL Twitter accounts to follow, along with big names like JJ Watt, Bucky Brooks, and Frank Caliendo.
Joe and I were honored to have him on this week’s episode to chat about his impression of Drew Lock from his time at Missouri, as well as what Klassen saw from him in his first five games.
Joe Rowles actually had a piece on the site with Klassen last year before Lock’s debut on what Broncos Country could expect, so he’s not a stranger to Mile High Report.
One of the first things Derrik mentioned at the beginning of the show was how he was surprised how much he enjoyed watching Lock, as he didn’t expect to like him as much as he did when he first dove into the tape.
Came away far more impressed with Drew Lock than I thought I would. LAC game was pitiful and his HOU performance was overrated, but he improved in each of his 2nd, 3rd, and 4th starts. Settled in mentally and became quite good reading coverages for a youngster.— Derrik Klassen (@QBKlass) April 4, 2020
The central piece of Lock’s five games that we talked about a lot on the show is his growth from game to game, and how quickly it seemed that Lock was picking up the offense, as well as improving his overall process as the season went on.
Klassen mentioned that it is encouraging when the offense begins to open the playbook up more for a young QB and it’s evident that the QB responds, and Lock did that as Denver began to graduate him from the heavily training wheeled offense of the Chargers game, to where he was being asked to, and making, multiple reads and actually go through progressions.
Broncos coaching staff called this first game like they didn't trust Drew Lock to even read a coloring book— Derrik Klassen (@QBKlass) April 3, 2020
Drew Lock rookie thread:— Derrik Klassen (@QBKlass) April 3, 2020
3rd / 8. Second drive of the game for DEN. Lock was not asked to do a damn thing in either series, but this is still a nice go-ball for his first TD. Nice that he can find / follow through a strong release point w/ basically just his arm. pic.twitter.com/mKGiJuJv6b
The thread above encapsulates a lot of the different points we talked on the show, and is a great breakdown. Even if you don’t do the Twitter thing, I recommend popping it open and going through the clips that Klassen has laid out.
While many will point to the Houston game as Lock’s best performance, Klassen actually pointed to the Kansas City game and the subsequent Detroit and Oakland games as better indicators of Lock’s growth even if the numbers didn’t necessarily look great (or in the case of KC, looked downright awful).
One of the best quotes from the our conversation that I think hits this on the head - Derrik described Lock’s performance against the Texans as a snapshot of how talented Drew Lock is, but the later games are more indicative of the kind of QB he can be.
I think throws like the one below stick out, as Lock’s arm talent was certainly on display (Klassen dives into his ‘arm talent at the top of the show’), but little things like his footwork and field processing were were lacking in that game, where they began to show more in his final three games of the season.
A brief thread of some little things (and a few big) that I liked from Drew Lock's tape upon a 3rd re-watch.— Jeffrey Essary (@JeffreyEssary) February 17, 2020
Teaser: @JoRo_NFL and I break it all down on @Cover2Broncos tomorrow!
One of my favorite: #39 green dogs, but Lock is able to throw the perfect ball to Beck in stride. pic.twitter.com/MtpiN8CtcN
Lastly, we talked a lot about Lock’s footwork and what exactly is going wrong there. Klassen explained that it wasn’t even necessarily the feet at times, but more of the rotation of the hips. When QBs are making off-platform throws, (guys like Mahomes, Rodgers, etc.) their feet may not look perfect, but they’re always able to fully rotate their hips into the throw, so it’s not all upper body.
This video has been circulating everywhere, but I love this from Dak Prescott. Take notes. Throwing the ball isn’t all about power from the shoulder.— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) November 11, 2019
Core strength, footwork, torso generation, and hips are just as important. pic.twitter.com/i5FSE0PcYq
I know it has become a meme at this point, but the drill of Dak Prescott rotating his hips is something that Klassen said fans should be looking for from Lock and what we want to see from him on Sundays. He also pointed to Dak Prescott as an example of a player who came into the league with not so great footwork/lowerbody mechanics and has improved them since being in the NFL, so a good model for Lock to follow.
The big takeaway that I had from the conversation was the amount of growth Drew Lock has already shown, which excites me for this upcoming year, if he continues on this trajectory.
Klassen was very complimentary of Lock’s game, and while he has some legitimate concerns about Lock’s over-aggression at times and his footwork, but thinks especially with the weapons placed around Lock, that he is poised to be a good QB for the Broncos and have Denver competing for a Wild Card berth this upcoming season.
still want to watch a bit more of Haskins, but 2019 rookies ranked/summarized:— Derrik Klassen (@QBKlass) April 19, 2020
don't really care about the order of the last three and I can probably be swayed to have any three of them as the 'best' in that tier pic.twitter.com/1eSoj31NXz
Check out our full conversation in the player above and thanks again to Derrik for coming on the show and sharing a ‘QB Klass’ with us.