It wasn’t too long ago a large segment of the national media was calling for John Elway to sign someone like Andy Dalton or Cam Newton to backup Drew Lock. The Broncos did not pursue either move, content with Jeff Driskel. The former San Francisco 49er, Cincinnati Bengal, and Detroit Lion signed in March and will enter the abbreviated preseason with all but a clear road to a positive COVID test away from playing time.
Jeff Driskel’s profile
Weight: 235 pounds
Age: 27 years old
The first good thing about signing Driskel is what it signals for the Broncos commitment to Drew Lock. Elway and the coaching staff are clearly committed to giving him all of 2020 to prove he can be the long term starter under center.
Driskel’s arm strength is an area where he represents a clear upgrade over the Broncos’ previous QB2. Brandon Allen arm was below average, which hurt him in games with inclimate weather such as the Buffalo Bills’ game. Driskel’s also solid in the quick game, which is a bread and butter part of the Pat Shurmur offense where slant-flats will be a core concept.
Another strength to Driskel’s game is his mobility, and he does not hesitate to punish a defense for forgetting about his legs. He had just over 50 yards rushing a game as a Lion. He’s also capable of scrambling to make something out of nothing on broken plays.
A lot of first reads, dumpoffs, and misses. Then you get that scene out of the movies where the play breaks down and Jeff Driskel finds his guy for what's supposed to be the miraculous game winning touchdown. pic.twitter.com/zgGGqYMRkG— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) March 18, 2020
If Driskel is forced into action I’m curious to see if time under Pat Shurmur can help him iron out some of the weaknesses to his game. His 2019 tape showed a quarterback who’s accuracy lagged beyond the 10-12 yard range, and who was overly dependent on getting the ball to his first read. Obviously these issues limited his offense and made the Lions far easier to defend than they were under Matt Stafford.
Unless he takes a notable step forward in his development, it will be very difficult to win games with him leading the passing attack.
If the first read isn't there, Driskel's will still probably throw it. pic.twitter.com/uZONtskOuq— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) March 18, 2020
Jeff Driskel’s roster status with the Broncos
The Broncos have already trimmed the roster down to three quarterbacks and Drew Lock is the starter. In a normal preseason I would be really curious to see if Brett Rypien could push Driskel for the backup job, but without games to compete in I doubt that happens. Odds are Driskel is a heartbeat away in 2020. Let’s hope he’s ready for it.