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What does George Paton mean for Drew Lock?

The Denver Broncos new General Manager means a new vision and outside perspective.

Now that the Broncos have a new general manager to call the shots, it’s time for the speculation to begin in earnest. What will George Paton do at quarterback? Will he pursue a veteran to compete for the starting job? Could he bring in a Deshaun Watson or Matthew Stafford? Maybe he drafts a rookie quarterback of his own? Or perhaps he chalks 2020 up to Covid and injuries and let’s Drew Lock have another chance to run as the unquestioned starter.

We don’t know. Which is equal parts maddening and fun. In the words of the great Kevin Garnett, anything is possible. Until Paton and the Broncos make a move, we really won’t know what the plan is. With Paton’s career with the Vikings spanning 14 seasons and nine starting quarterbacks, his time in Minnesota doesn’t eliminate any options.

Kirk Cousins, Case Keenum, Sam Bradford, Teddy Bridgewater, Matt Cassel, Christian Ponder, Brett Favre, Gus Frerotte, and Tarvaris Jackson have all lead the Vikings in passing since Paton joined the Vikings as the director of pro personnel in 2007. Five of them signed as free agents, one was a trade acquisition, two were first round picks, Jackson was inherited. if you want to dig even deeper, both Keenum, Cassel, and Frerotte were added to the roster to serve as backups only to take over the starting job due to injury or performance.

Yesterday Joe Mahoney and I discussed whether Drew Lock should remain the starting quarterback. My argument for him began with the progress he made throughout the 2020 season and rests on the fact that Covid made last year unlike any season in NFL history. The Broncos roster was the youngest in football and they lost their best receiver, so it’s fair to wonder if Lock could make a real jump after a real offseason. On this week’s Cover 2 Broncos Jeff Essary and I spoke with Tim Jenkins, who believes if Lock puts in the work, he could become a top 10 QB.

It’s also fair to wonder if any jump will be enough when he finished the season as one of the worst starting quarterbacks in all of football. With Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert set to pilot offenses in the AFC West for the next decade or more, the question is a pressing one. Without a quarterback, the Broncos road to contention is a very narrow one. Can Lock really be the guy? We simply don’t know yet.

When I say the future remains cloudy at quarterback, I mean it. Paton becoming the general manager does nothing to shine light on the future for Drew Lock. KOA’s Brandon Krisztal reported that Paton will meet with the press next Tuesday. Until then we have little more than his past, Lock’s performance, and the cost to replace him to go on. I doubt that stops the ceaseless speculation and members of the local media from reporting that they know which direction makes the most sense. Just remember that until Paton makes the move, no one actually knows. No one.

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