Drew Lock took a third down snap standing in his own end zone. Despite five Wyoming defenders closing in on third-and-seven, the senior stayed calm in the pocket and fired a 36-yard dime to Emanuel Hall’s back shoulder for a first down.
Lock scrambled 12 yards for a touchdown to cap off the nine play, 97-yard drive to give the Tigers a 10-0 lead with 5:32 remaining in the second quarter.
Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl gave great praise to Lock, noting some strengths of his that happen to be eerily similar to former Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen.
“[Missouri’s] quarterback is as good or better than advertised,” Bohl said. “He’s got a really good touch on the ball, aside from having a strong arm. I think he can improvise... One of the reasons why we didn’t sack him was because he’s got mobility. There’s a lot of great attributes and I think he’ll play for a long time in the NFL.”
The Buffalo Bills selected Allen with the seventh pick in 2018 NFL Draft just five months ago — Lock could very well go just as high or higher than Allen come April of 2019.
Lock and Allen both possess the physical gifts that make NFL scouts drool — tall, big arm, and mobile. Some Missouri fans had some fun comparing the two:
ESPN Draft Analyst Mel Kiper Jr. was one of Allen’s biggest supporters leading up to the draft, and is high on Lock as well.
“I think [Lock] is the guy a lot of people will be excited about,” Kiper Jr. said on the Ryan Russillo podcast this summer. “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.”
The Missouri senior is Kiper’s top-ranked senior quarterback (over West Virginia QB Will Grier) and near the very top of his 2019 Big Board. Kiper has continuously said Lock’s arm strength is what separates him from others, as the Draft Analyst thinks he has an even bigger arm than Allen — a trait that wooed countless NFL teams.
Four NFL scouts sat in the press box for Saturday’s game against Wyoming — they were employed by the Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Washington Redskins and Carolina Panthers — and all four had their eyes on Missouri’s quarterback.
While they didn’t say what the most impressive part of Lock’s performance was, their pens scribbled down notes furiously after every pinpoint downfield pass — and mind you, there were plenty of those Saturday night.
There were just as many incompletions on fairly routine plays, though. The most glaring came in the third quarter when tight end Albert Okuwegbunam found himself wide open on a seam route. Lock overthrew him on what could have been a big-time touchdown for the Tigers.
Just like Allen, who completed just 56.3 percent of his passes in 2017, the biggest concern with Lock is his accuracy. Aside from the missed Okuwegbunam seam route, Lock’s accuracy was up and down throughout. While he made some incredible NFL-caliber throws on deep balls and along the sidelines, he missed receivers on easy crossing routes, outs and other routine plays an NFL quarterback completes 10 times out of 10.
Allen’s game raised the same concerns coming into the draft, and the Bills saw those ferment over the preseason. Many expected the former Wyoming quarterback to start for Buffalo come Week One, but a preseason with shoddy accuracy forced the Bills to start Nathan Peterman at quarterback. Recognize the name? He’s the guy who threw four interceptions in the first half of a game last year when Buffalo questionably benched Tyrod Taylor for him.
Of course, Allen’s performance in the NFL thus far isn’t representative of what his career will be like and isn’t telling of how Lock’s future will end up. Lock looked fantastic in Missouri’s 40-13 victory over Allen’s alma mater Saturday night.
Lock made throws most college quarterbacks wouldn’t even attempt, and showed his mobility in and outside the pocket. He’s an elite talent and, barring injury, should have an impressive senior campaign.
We’ll see if it’s enough to get drafted as high as a similar quarterback in Allen.