Now that the 2018 NFL Draft has come and gone, prognosticators are looking ahead to the 2019 NFL Draft. And the early guesses are that the 2019 quarterbacks won’t be nearly as good as those at the top as the 2018 class.
A year ago, the likes of Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold and Josh Allen already had been tabbed as top-10 picks. Draft experts are having a tougher time picking out top-tier NFL draft prospects, with some throwing out names such as Will Grier (West Virginia), Clayton Thorson (Northwestern) and Ryan Finley (N.C. State).
But one name that has come up pretty consistently is that of Missouri quarterback Drew Lock. Appearing on the Ryen Russillo podcast, NFL draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. tabbed him as the quarterback most likely to excite NFL teams a year from now. Kiper recounted how an NFL talent evaluator told him that Lock had the best arm in college football, even better than say Allen or Rosen.
“I think he was wise to go back to Missouri for another year, but I think he is the guy a lot of people will be excited about,”Kiper Jr. said. “If you want to isolate one guy who the NFL is already looking at and who they have a high opinion of for next year, it’s Drew Lock.”
In his initial top-10 that Kiper put out after the draft, Lock was rated as his No. 5 prospect and was the only quarterback on the list. A season ago, Lock set records by throwing for 44 touchdowns to just 13 interceptions. And most of it wasn’t as part of a dink-and-dunk offense. He averaged 9.5 yards per attempt, which was good for fourth in the country.
A potential concern about Lock is his accuracy, as his best college completion rate is 57.8 percent. He’s also going to be playing for his third different offensive coordinator this year, with former Tennessee coach Derek Dooley taking over for Josh Heupel. It’s also worth mentioning that Dooley has never been an offensive coordinator or quarterbacks coach at the college level.
It’s worth pointing out that Lock put up a lot of numbers against bad competition. In games against South Carolina, Purdue and Auburn a season ago, Lock completed 49 of 99 passes while throwing 3 touchdowns, and he was intercepted 5 times. In a game against Georgia, he threw for 4 touchdowns compared to just 1 interception.
2018 will be a big season for Lock and the Tigers, as they look to build off a 7-6 season from 2017. He’ll have plenty of tough tests with games against both Georgia and Alabama in 2018 — two teams that have reloaded after producing a combined seven first-round picks in the 2018 NFL Draft.
The Tigers open the season on Sept. 1 against Tennessee-Martin.