On December 31st, Drew Lock will lead the Missouri Tigers offense against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the Liberty Bowl. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound senior has the size and physical tools that NFL front offices dream about. But does the rest of his resume point to a future NFL starter? And how should dynasty owners value Lock in upcoming rookie drafts?
THE EARLY YEARS
With over 5,700 yards passing and 63 touchdowns in his final two seasons, Lock was one of the most highly recruited QB prospects in the 2014 class, participating in the Elite 11 competition. Lock also earned first-team all-state honors in basketball as a high school junior. As a true freshman in 2015, he started the final eight games for Missouri finishing the season with an underwhelming 1332-4-8 line through the air.
He showed marked improvement in his first full season as the starter in 2016, finishing with a solid 7.9 adjusted yards per attempt (AYA) and a 23:10 touchdown-to-interception ratio. But it’s worth noting that 12 of his TDs came in just three games against non-Power Five opponents, a trend that we’ll revisit later. But overall, Lock’s arrow was pointing up heading into his junior season.
2017 AND BEYOND
Lock’s 2017 season cemented him as a high-level NFL prospect. He finished first nationally in TD passes (44), fourth in AYA (10.2), and 10th in yards passing (3,964). But again, looking deeper we see that 18 of his TDs came in just three games against non-Power Five teams. Generally expected to be a first-round pick in the 2018 draft, Lock instead decided to return for his senior season.
Although Lock posted the best completion percentage of his career (63.2 percent) and a solid 8.2 AYA, his draft stock likely took a hit from its lofty levels following his junior season. But as one of 88 QBs since 1956 to finish a season with an AYA of 10 or more, we’ve seen the ceiling Lock is capable of reaching.
Age is a crucial component in any college prospect evaluation. Blair Andrews has also shown that QBs who play their rookie seasons before turning 23 have found success at nearly twice the rate of their older counterparts. Lock turns 23 next November.
And while I’ve mentioned Lock’s 2017 and career-long AYA as points of optimism, Andrews also showed that college AYA is not predictive of NFL AYA, so it’s important we don’t become fixated on that particular metric. In short, a full analysis of Lock’s potential is still months away. Despite some bouts of inaccuracy and poor decision-making, scouts believe Lock has the physical tools and arm-strength to be successful. Back in June, NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah even compared him to Patrick Mahomes months before Mahomes set the NFL on fire.
With Justin Herbert returning to Oregon next season, Lock has a chance to be the second QB drafted in April, assuming Dwayne Haskins declares. If that’s the case, he absolutely deserves consideration as a late-first to early-second-round rookie pick in 2-QB and Superflex dynasty leagues. He’s not a perfect prospect, but given early opportunity, especially with a competent offensive staff, he could morph into a usable fantasy asset sooner rather than later.