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2015 derailed the Drew Lock hype train. Time to re-board.

Lock was thrown into the fire with no run support, no blocking, and an unprepared receiving corps. There was no way it was going to end well.

DrewLock Derrick Forsythe (Rock M Nation)

Drew Lock

6’4, 205, So.

Lee’s Summit, MO
2015: 129-for-263 (49%), 1,332 yards, 4 TD, 8 INT, 25 sacks (4.1 yards per pass attempt); 27 rushes, 184 yards (6.8), 1 TD

Oscar Gamble: I think Drew Lock is the best quarterback on Missouri’s roster. He has a fantastic arm and ability to place passes where he wants them on a range of throws even while on the move. No other QB on this team has demonstrated to me they can do all that.

We seem to avoid comparing current players to past greats. Maybe it’s because it’s impossible to live up to that hype and perhaps rightly because each player should be given an opportunity to create their own legacy. Like it or not, fans are making those comparisons every time they watch a game, even if not overtly. Every Missouri quarterback is held up to the gold-standard of Chase Daniel - unless we’re comparing him to Blaine Gabbert.

Drew Lock is much more Gabbert than Daniel, right down to being 6’5 with a laser rocket arm, dashing good looks and obvious pro potential.

That doesn’t mean these comparisons are fair or accurate. If Drew Lock doesn’t successfully integrate the Gabbert prototype with the Daniel production he can still be a good college quarterback. That’s what I’m looking for from Lock this fall - just be good. I want him to throw better than 60% completion, lead the offense competently and don’t put the team in bad field position, throw more touchdowns than interceptions, show improvement from last year and over the course of this year.

davidcmorrison: Yes, but how will he play now that his glorious hair is gone?

All joking (or was it?) aside, the fact that Lock survived his true freshman season without any deep physical or emotional wounds is a miracle unto itself. The soap opera that was the Missouri football team off the field combined with the sieve-like nature of the offensive line on the field would have been enough to send any promising quarterback tail-spinning into a David-Carr-on-the-Texans type trajectory of self-doubt and involuntary flinching, just waiting for the next gigantic defensive lineman to feast.

And we still haven’t seen whether that’s going to be the case with Lock going forward. We still haven’t seen whether the panic and confusion that had him abandoning his fundamentals and looking at all the wrong passing windows toward the end of the season last year is going to be something that he can shrug off with more experience and a (probably?) better line, or whether it has become endemic.

Lock is still most definitely Missouri’s quarterback of the future. It remains to be seen whether his future can ever be as bright as many were predicting last year around this time.

Sam Snelling: It was certainly terrifying to watch Lock play last year, hoping that a missed assignment or a whiffed block wasn’t something that was going to end his season. This year I’m hoping for moderate growth, provided he can get the protection... which seems to be a bit of a caveat, to understate it a touch. Lock is a guy who has the defining features of being a great college quarterback, and I think he has the ability to one day be a Pro, I just hope that the line can provide him enough time to learn how to be the Quarterback that Missouri needs this season. Which is a true sophomore who doesn’t give the game away through mental mistakes and poor decision making. I felt Lock’s decision making was sound last year, he just needed more help.

The youth and inexperience that surrounded Lock last year is all a year older, and so is Lock. The Line has been somewhat remade as well, so are we going to see enough necessary steps from an obviously talented young player to get Missouri to a decent bowl? I like Lock’s athletic ability and his feet which I think should help him avoid the fate of being labeled a liability in the pocket, the way some Mizzou fans felt about Gabbert. And I like Lock’s natural leadership abilities enough to think that he gets the job done this season.

TheRonDavis: It all comes down to confidence. Last year was a disaster on offense, and Lock took a beating. If he has recovered psychologically and the offensive line comes together somewhat, I think we see the talent everyone raved about during fall camp last year. Perhaps the ceiling is a 20 touchdown/10 interception type of season. If the demons of last year remain, he might force throws that aren’t there and we could see a seven touchdown/13 interception year.

Based on what his teammates have been saying, it sounds like we’ll see closer to the former. After a year in the program, he’s gotten acclimated to being “the man” and his leadership has grown. Plus, working with QB-guru Josh Heupel can’t hurt. Terez Hall told me last week that he can run now, so that could be a different dimension for Lock’s game.

Bill C.: I've come to realize that I view Drew Lock's freshman season in three stages: his four games as a backup, his two good starts (South Carolina and BYU), and his six ... less than good starts. Okay, mostly awful starts.

These three categories tell DRASTICALLY different stories.

  • As a backup: 15-for-25 (60%), 225 yards (15.0 per completion), 1 TD, 1 INT
  • SC and BYU: 40-for-56 (71%), 380 yards (9.5 per completion), 3 TD, 1 INT
  • The dreadful others: 74-for-208 (36%), 727 yards (9.8 per completion), 0 TD, 6 INT

Interceptions were never really a problem -- even in the bad games, his INT rate was under 3 percent, which isn't great but could be a lot worse for an overwhelmed freshman. Still, with scattershot protection and receivers that were rarely open, he just didn't have much to work with.

In his good moments, though, he really did flash Gabbert-style potential. His arm isn't Gabbert-strong, but it can be accurate as hell when his feet are properly underneath him. And against South Carolina and BYU, he was proficient at throwing quick and easy passes to both sidelines and matriculating the ball down the field. His receivers weren't good enough to take a short pass and break a long gain, but he was doing his job. That's encouraging.

Andrew Luck himself would have only done so well last year with a bad line, young receivers, and next to no running game. So I'm willing to look past some of his mistakes and issues. But that doesn't mean this season isn't huge for Mr. Lock. Watching him throw 15-yard pills with perfect accuracy during August scrimmages last year gave us visions of where he could take the offense one day. He didn't take it there last year, and the more glimpses we get this season, the more excited we can be for 2017.

Drew Lock
Drew Lock vs. South Carolina
Derrick Forsythe (Rock M Nation)