Before the 2016 season, I tried to guess how Drew Lock’s sophomore year would go based on data from his fellow Elite 11 quarterbacks over the past decade and change.
Before the 2017 season, I did it again. And, while the projections were a little closer to reality for Lock’s junior year, they still left something to be desired.
But what’s that old saying? “If at first and second you don’t succeed, try it a third time, but like seven months earlier than you did the other two times.”
Or something to that effect.
Anyway, I’m extending my thought experiment out to Year 3, with a couple more tweaks.
This time, we’ve got another year of data and a total of 131 Elite 11 quarterbacks from 2004 (the year Chase Daniel went through the camp) through 2016 to draw from.
So what I’m going to do is, again, take Lock’s junior year numbers and plot him out against the rest of the Elite 11 QBs, then a smaller group of high-rep freshmen, then a smaller group of junior who — like him — had more than 200 attempts their freshman year and 400 their sophomore year, then against Daniel to see what we can maybe expect out of Lock’s final season in black and gold.
I’m plotting Lock’s 2018 by rate and by bulk. So, say, by improvements in touchdown and interception percentage as well as total touchdowns and interceptions, for instance.
In the passing by rate sections, we took average attempts per game for all the quarterbacks, compared that with the junior numbers, then applied the difference to Lock.
We did this with a lot of help from the College Football Reference website. We also included their “Adjusted Yards per Attempt” metric, which seems to reward touchdowns and punish interceptions. Don’t know exactly what it means, but it’s in there.
Let’s get going:
Drew Lock as an Elite-11 Quarterback
We start out with 89 juniors and whittle down to 61 seniors. As we do, their numbers start to plateau.
Completion percentage is up 2.45 percent from junior year, yards per pass is up 1.01 percent, interception percentage is down 1.52 percent and touchdown percentage, too, is down 1.35 percent. So the rate stats stay pretty similar.
Bulk stats, though, fall precipitously from junior to senior year for Elite 11 quarterbacks who make it that far: completions, attempts and yards are all down in the 8-10 percent range, and touchdowns and interceptions (a good thing, remembers) are down in the mid-11 percents.
In Lock’s case, those adjustments look like this.
- 12 games — 206-of-348 (59.2%), 3325 yards (9.55 per), 36 TD, 11 INT, 167.27 rating
- 13 games — 223-of-377 (59.2%), 3602 yards (9.55 per), 39 TD, 12 INT, 167.18 rating
- 222-of-375 (59.2%), 3586 yards (9.56 per), 39 TD, 11 INT, 167.98 rating
Drew Lock as an Elite 11 Quarterback with a High-Attempt Freshman Year
Out of the Elite 11 quarterbacks that attempted more than 200 passes their freshmen season, 20 juniors narrow down to nine seniors.
The outlook here’s even a little more bleak than the overall population. Bulk stats are down 20-30 percent across the board (again, good thing for interceptions only). In rate stats, completion percentage is barely up, interception percentage is down 14 percent, and yards per attempt and touchdown percentage are also down.
With a couple notable examples, the ones that stuck around until their senior years had either settled into a sort of journeyman role or had to deal with injuries in their last year on campus.
Lock’s not in danger of the former. The latter is up to the gods.
- 12 games — 184-of-315 (58.4%), 2816 yards (8.94 per), 30 TD, 8 INT, 159.86 rating
- 13 games — 199-of-341 (58.4%), 3048 yards (8.94 per), 33 TD, 9 INT, 160.10 rating
- 184-of-315 (58.4%), 2814 yards (8.93 per), 30 TD, 8 INT, 159.80 rating
Drew Lock and his 200/400 Elite-11 Brethren
We’re left with only two comparisons in this group by the time we get to senior year: Oklahoma’s Landry Jones and Georgia’s Aaron Murray.
Both, by the way, who aren’t bad people to emulate in your college career (and Lock is 41 touchdowns from breaking Murray’s SEC record...just sayin...).
Jones (especially) and Murray were pretty high-volume passers their senior year, so bulk stats went up in every category (including interceptions) from the crop of eight analogous juniors. Rate stats were kind of all over the place, with completion percentage up 5 percent, yards per attempt down 4, touchdown percentage down 11 and interception percentage down 2.
Were Lock to follow the Jones/Murray model, his senior year could look a little something like this.
- 12 games — 274-of-451 (60.8%), 4082 yards (9.05 per), 42 TD, 14 INT, 161.31 rating
- 13 games — 296-of-487 (60.8%), 4408 yards (9.05 per), 45 TD, 15 INT, 161.14 rating
- 290-of-477 (60.8%), 4316 yards (9.05 per), 44 TD, 14 INT, 161.37 rating
Drew Lock as Chase Daniel
This topic header used to read “and Blaine Gabbert,” but Gabbert never made it to his senior year. So we’re left with Daniel.
Arguably the best quarterback in Missouri history, Daniel finished off his collegiate career by 35 fewer passes than he did as a junior but completing one more pass for 29 more yards. That’s consistency.
He also threw six more touchdowns and seven more interceptions. Applying those changes to Lock’s TD-INT numbers makes for some...bombastic...totals.
- 12 games — 240-of-388 (61.9%), 3940 yards (10.2 per), 51 TD, 21 INT, 179.71 rating
- 13 games -- 259-of-420 (61.7%), 4265 yards (10.2 per), 56 TD, 23 INT, 180.01 rating
- 243-of-393 (61.8%), 3991 yards (10.2 per), 52 TD, 21 INT, 180.11 rating
Drew Lock vs. the 2018 Schedule
You thought I was done? Oh, you’re not so lucky.
Riffing on my newfound (apparently) love of finding Missouri’s opponent norms and seeing how Lock measures up to them, I took the Tigers’ 2018 opponents, broke them up by category, saw how their pass defenses did against other teams, then plotted Lock’s 2018 based on his performances against those norms in 217.
The points of comparison were FCS (against all other teams but Missouri), non-Power 5 (against all FBS teams but Missouri) and Power-5 (against all Power-5 teams but Missouri).
When you add in UT Martin (and its surprisingly effective FCS pass defense), Alabama, Memphis and Wyoming and take out Missouri State, Auburn, Idaho and Connecticut, you find a tougher go of it for Lock in 2018.
Now, there’s no guarantee these pass defenses will be as good, or bad, as they were in 2017 next year, but I don’t want to hear that right now.
Using this method, the consensus is:
- FCS (1 game): 13-of-28, 353 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT
- Non-Power 5 (2 games): 46-of-66, 756 yards, 9 TD, 2 INT
- Power-5 (9 games): 144-of-272, 2219 yards, 22 TD, 10 INT
Based on this, here are 12- and 13-game estimations for 2018 (a note: I used decimal places on the game estimates in the spreadsheet but rounded them out in that above demonstration, so the totals will be slightly different from what they’d be if you added up those numbers above.)
- 12 games — 203-of-366 (55.6%), 3328 yards (9.10 per), 34 TD, 15 INT, 154.71 rating
- 13 games -- 220-of-396 (55.6%), 3606 yards (9.10 per), 37 TD, 16 INT, 154.71 rating
So now we average the 14 projections out (two extra ones this year!!!) to come to a consensus:
232-of-389 (59.5%), 3652 yards (9.38 per), 41 TD, 14 INT, 165.46 rating
This season would see Lock end his Missouri career just 168 yards shy of Daniel’s program record but also secure him the program touchdown record by a wide berth, at 112.
It would also juuuuuuust earn him the SEC passing touchdown record by one.
Now let’s sit back and see if it happens...sometime in the next 12 months.