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Fuel for the Fire

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Drew Lock’s slip out of the first round will just provide more kindling as he continues to prove doubters wrong.

NFL: NFL Draft Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Even in the worst-case scenario, no one saw this coming:

Drew Lock, somehow, fell out of the first-round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

After being projected as a first-round pick since his junior year at Missouri — after being projected, frequently, going as high as tenth to the Denver Broncos — Lock saw some pre-draft projections have him fall to the San Diego Chargers at 28 or the Green Bay Packers at 30.

Vegas even loved Lock as an early pick in the draft.

Those were the worst-case scenarios. Somehow, Drew Lock is not a first-round NFL Draft pick.

And let’s make this clear — this is not some huge tragedy. I’m not trying to make this more than it is. A team will pick Lock in the second round, and early at that. Oakland has the fourth pick in that round, and that is seen as a possible destination. Lock will still make a lot of money. He’ll still get the chance to be a starter in the NFL and go on to a productive career.

But it still sucks, man. It sucks because Lock came back for his senior year, to give more continuity for Missouri football — a program he grew up with, a program he loved, and a program he stuck with even during the tough times. Because Lock came back, Missouri got Kelly Bryant, and don’t forget that. Lock probably had a clearer shot to a first-round pick last year than this year; Josh Allen went seventh overall to the Buffalo Bills.

Last year was a QB-needy draft. This year, not quite as much.

Lock isn’t going to be a slam-dunk NFL star. Very few first-round picks are; quarterbacks are notoriously even more of a crapshoot. There are red flags with each of the three quarterbacks that went ahead of him; Lock, too, has his red flags.

But, man. This is a dude that worked under three offensive coordinators in college; he worked under three different quarterback coaches. So he’s absolutely more of a work-in-progress. But he adapted to each situation and got better each year. He set conference records; he nearly set program records without the same level of talent around him as years past.

And here’s the thing about the wins and losses. Does Blaine Gabbert get credit for that 10-3 2010 season? Does James Franklin or Maty Mauk get that same credit for 2013 and 2014?

All those seasons — 2007, too — were about more than just the quarterback. I’ve said this before and I’ve said this again:

Imagine the last three years at Missouri without Drew Lock.

This is more on-the-field adversity for a guy who’s seen plenty of it. Lock has taken it all in stride and, with some swagger, used it as motivation to keep one football program afloat.

He’s got more motivation now. He’s got more fuel for the fire.

Lock has more doubters to prove wrong.

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