Are we overlooking Drew Lock as Seahawks starting QB option?

Jan 29, 2023, 3:24 PM

Seahawks Drew Lock...

Backup Seahawks QB Drew Lock throws a game against the Los Angeles Chargers on Oct. 23, 2022. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

There are a lot of big storylines for the Seahawks this offseason.

Seahawks Draft: The top QBs, how deep edge rusher class is and more

There’s the No. 5 overall pick they own, which would be their highest NFL Draft selection since 2009, their last before head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider joined the franchise.

There’s also the fact that they own four picks in the first two rounds, including two in the top 20.

And how about speculation over free agents and trade targets to improve their defense?

The biggest storyline, however, is regarding the quarterback position. Because even though Geno Smith had an incredible and surprising 2022 season that earned him a Pro Bowl invitation and nomination as one of three finalists for Comeback Player of the Year, he’s due to hit free agency, leaving the door open for Seattle to potentially draft its quarterback of the future.

There’s another option to be the starting Seahawks quarterback in 2023, however, which led Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy to ask an important question on Friday.

“What we’re talking about today is another option that may be right under their nose the whole time: What about Drew Lock?” asked Stacy Rost.

Though Lock is a pending free agent like Smith, he would be considerably cheaper to bring back than what Smith is expected to command for his services next season, which salary cap expert and Spotrac managing editor Michael Ginnitti estimated to Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob would be above $30 million per year.

While Lock spent the entire 2022 campaign on the sidelines as Smith’s backup, he was still considered a legitimate competitor for Smith in their preseason battle to succeed Russell Wilson as Seattle’s QB last summer. There’s also the fact that Carroll made it clear throughout that season that the Seahawks really like Lock and that the 26 year old could still have a bright future ahead despite failing to stick as the Broncos’ starter following his second-round draft selection in 2019.

So is there a case to be made for Seattle to go with Lock at QB next season? Here’s a look at what Rost and former NFL receiver Michael Bumpus had to say, as well as some choice quotes about Lock from Carroll and Broncos analyst Mark Schlereth from our sister station, Denver Sports 104.3 FM.

Bump: Why Lock is a ‘real possibility’

The reason we think this is a real possibility is because we hear the way Schneider and Pete Carroll talk about Drew Lock. If Geno is to go out there and get an offer (in free agency) from a football club that the Hawks feel like they can’t match or won’t match, you gotta start looking at Drew Lock. So let’s take a trip down memory lane with Drew Lock. Last year, I sat down with (Seahawks offensive coordinator) Shane Waldron and we watched about 30 to 45 minutes of film on Drew, and we’re breaking down the film and obviously we’re looking mostly at highlights, not the lowlights. We’re trying to highlight the kid and see what he can do. If you go to the Seahawks’ YouTube, the film session is still up to this day (watch here). And the thing that we both liked about Drew Lock is that he has the arm strength to make every single throw out there.

… I look at (his stats from Denver) and I remember a guy named Peyton Manning having a real bad first year. … I’m not making excuses, I’m just telling you how it is a young quarterback. You’re drafted by this team, you put together a decent rookie season, and you come back in a COVID year with a new offensive coordinator and you struggle a bit and then they give upon you so quickly. (Then-Broncos head coach) Vic Fangio says, ‘You know what? Nah, this guy ain’t it. I’m bringing in Teddy Bridgewater to compete with him.’ That’s not how you build a franchise. That’s not how you develop a quarterback. Teddy Bridgewater wins that job, so now I’m looking at Drew Lock and I’m trying to think about where he is mentally. Kind of familiar, reminds me of Geno Smith a little bit. You’ve been given up on by a team, the team that drafted you, and you’re sent across the country to go back up another backup in Geno Smith. So maybe sitting a year or two has done something for Drew Lock.

Physically, he can play in this league. … He does deserve another chance. If Schneider and Pete Carroll are willing to roll the dice on him, they’ve earned the right to do that. They’ve earned my trust to where I’m like, OK, you did it with Geno Smith, I wasn’t sure about it. Why not do it with Drew Lock? So it’s been rough for Drew (but) he’s still young. He’s really only had a year and a half… to try to prove himself in this league, and we’ve seen that that is just not enough, so we shall see.

Seahawks and others see something in Lock

While Smith was taking the league by storm, the Seahawks let slip that Lock was impressing them behind the scenes, as Rost pointed out.

First, she played a clip of Carroll talking about Lock from a press conference in October.

“Maybe Drew is a guy that hasn’t had the kind of support that’s going to bring out the best in him,” Carroll said. “We’re yet to see that. I think you’re gonna see a fantastic player in him when his time comes and all that because he’s going to be in a different mentality approaching his work.”

Then another clip from Carroll later in the season answering why he had brought up Lock multiple times when talking to the media.

“I think he’s really good, and he’s shown us that. He has an exciting future, and I know many times I’ve probably put it in the light that he’s growing too, and he’s going to be really good when he gets his chance. We’ll have just as many opportunities to make plays when he’s on the field. We see it every day (in practice). I mean, he battles every day against our first defense, and, you know, competes to try to beat their tails every day. And it’s great to see and he’s developing in ways that it just takes time. So if he’s fortunate enough to capture the time in similar fashion that Geno has, he’s gonna be a terrific player.”

Then there is the opinion from outside of the organization. Schlereth, a former NFL offensive lineman who spends his Sundays as a color commentator on FOX broadcasts, shared both his view and one he heard from an NFL insider.

“I know one thing, in Seattle they feel pretty good about Drew Lock,” Schlereth said during a recent conversation with Wyman and Bob. “You have to understand where Drew Lock comes from. I talked to a friend of mine that coached in the NFL that is still consulting in the NFL and really knows his stuff, and basically he evaluated Drew coming out of college and he said… ‘Arm talent-wise and athleticism-wise, Drew can play. Drew’s got good stuff.”

But that former NFL coach factored in Lock’s college background at Missouri.

“‘Like, it’s the worst college offense I’ve ever seen. It does nothing to prepare you for the NFL,'” Schlereth relayed. “And so I think (the Seahawks) feel pretty good about their quarterback situation, and that with more seasoning and understanding of the game at the professional level that Drew Lock will be a solid player.”

Rost sums it up

I don’t know what Drew Lock ends up being, but my opinion of Drew Lock compared to Geno lines up with some of the sentiment that Mark Schlereth explained… I think that Geno (in 2022) was more of not just a pro-ready quarterback, but a quarterback who really understood Shane Waldron’s offense, who really made good decisions, and who importantly Pete Carroll trusted. In fact, I have no idea if I’m right about this, but my gut feeling is that Pete Carroll trusted Geno more in 2022 than he did Russell Wilson at the end of Wilson’s tenure. It’s not because he didn’t think Russell Wilson wasn’t exceptionally talented, it’s not because he didn’t like Russell Wilson. I think it’s just because he felt like, ‘Geno gets it, gets exactly what I want to do. He believes in what I want to do, and every decision that Geno was going to make is going to be made with this particular offense in mind.’

I wonder if the reason they went with Geno over Drew is because they didn’t feel that Drew was there yet mentally. Drew’s much younger. Drew has all the arm talent in the world. I would say any ‘fun’ throw that we saw in the preseason was probably from Drew and not necessarily Geno. I remember when Geno was announced as the starter, I thought, ‘OK, it makes sense, we’ve kind of felt that this decision was coming really since their press conference when Pete said that he would love to have Geno here and Geno was not yet under contract. But I thought that it would be kind of a boring offense. I thought, well, this is just going to be protect the ball, don’t throw too far downfield, check-down offense. Instead, Geno ended up being great with explosive plays. I mean, they weren’t the Eagles out here throwing for 35-plus-yard touchdowns, but the offense was much better than I thought it would be.

I don’t know that I have all the faith in the world that Geno became who he was because Pete Carroll had the magic touch, and then he can do the exact same with Drew. I think they’re different quarterbacks with different skill sets. Would I understand the Seahawks wanting to save themselves $25-plus million and go with a guy who they think can figure it out? … Yeah, I can understand that sentiment.

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Are we overlooking Drew Lock as Seahawks starting QB option?