2019 Contextualized Quarterbacking: Missouri QB Drew Lock

Photo: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Contextualized Quarterbacking is a charting method that helps break down what to expect from the Draft-eligible quarterbacks. By tracking things like ball placement, depth of target, progressions, and throws into tight windows, the CQ can answer questions about which systems helps certain quarterbacks in certain ways. First up? Missouri QB Drew Lock.

Teams will have the strengths and weaknesses of these players in mind over the course of Senior Bowl week, and we will too, as we put them under the microscope to see if they have what it takes to improve on their deficiencies.

Biggest Strength: Physical Tools

While I don't think that Lock's arm is as powerful as many seem to think, his greatest strength is still his velocity and reach down the field. Lock can hit 20+ yard windows on a rope, and does well to attack downfield windows before closing safeties can affect the catch point.

While his targets are heavily concentrated near the line of scrimmage because of the heavy focus on RPO quick game for Missouri, his downfield placement and accuracy map should be eye-popping. Lock puts more than 80% of his throws in a catchable position more than 20+ yards down the field, and has some elite placement numbers to the 10-19 area as well.

Now those numbers can get skewed because of sample size concerns, but that's okay -- as I chart more passes for Lock, evne though those numbers may normalize and regress to a mean, we should still expect that mean to remain higher relative to other members of the class.

It is also worth noting on the Accuracy Map that Lock is weaker to his left side. A righty who opens often to that side in play action ideas, it makes sense that he would have more accurate numbers there -- it's easier to set your throwing hallway to your ball-dominant side.

Biggest Weakness: Tight Window Placement

One of the most powerful aspects of the CQ is the change in the Contextual Data. Lock has attempted about 20% of his passes into tight windows, which is a huge aspect of spread systems that people use to poohpooh college QBs. Do they throw with anticipation? Can they manipulate underneath zone defenders to create the space necessary? Can they drop touch throws between levels?

So Lock has attempted his fair bit of tight window throws, but! -- if you take a look at how that affects his ball placement, completion percentage, and interceptable passes...it's not great.

Lock generally doesn't struggle much against pressure, or when forced off-platform -- I like how adaptable he is. But those numbers into tight-windows are eye-popping.

The majority of Lock's tight window throws are up against the sideline, in 9 ball situations. In that context, despite his arm talent, Lock struggles to regularly run the football safe (protected from the DB) and accordingly leaves passes to be batted, intercepted, or out of the WR's cylinder of play. It's one thing to have arm strength, but you need to be able to uncover man-on-man receivers downfield when you get one-on-one matchups in the NFL.

Goal for Mobile: Consistency

Lock's ball placement falls under two benchmarks that you really like to see, from the CQ. His accuracy beyond the line of scrimmage is under .9, and his placement is under .6.

As it stands, Lock is simply an inconsistent player in terms of accuracy. He makes some bone-headed mental errors that don't help, but his arm is wild and when he goes to recruit velocity, he leaves balls hanging too far outside or drives them into the turf. The biggest get for Lock this week would be not glaring in comparison with some of his steadier companions, like Gardner Minshew or Ryan Finley.

Lock comes in as my QB3 in this group, with a potential Year 2/3 starter profile conditional on a strong week in Mobile.




Written By:

Benjamin Solak

Director of Special Projects

Director of Special Projects and Senior NFL Draft Analyst for The Draft Network. Co-host of the Locked On NFL Draft Podcast. The 3-Wide Raven.