Is 2020 the season Drew Lock gives the Broncos their holy grail?

Depending upon the outcome of Drew Lock's 2020 season, the Broncos could return to their former strength at the quarterback position

The Denver Broncos have some questions to answer, both in training camp and throughout the season, including what Drew Lock’s 2020 season could look like and what that means for the future of the franchise. It’s no secret that signal-callers have found tremendous success in Denver in the past, the likes of John Elway and Peyton Manning come to mind immediately. But the Broncos have struggled to find someone who touches that level of success at the position lately, and flashes Lock has shown early on give reason to believe the team could return to a high level of quarterback play sooner rather than later.

Lock is well-known for his “Drewcember” performance and needs to carry over that momentum as he looks to cement himself as the long-term starter.

What do Lock’s OSM and RAS tell us?

Offensive Share Metric

Lock finished out the 2019 season with a 64.1% completion percentage and 1,020 passing yards with seven touchdowns and three interceptions. According to Pro Football Network’s Offensive Share Metric (OSM), Lock finished the year with an overall OSM of 17.22, placing him at QB38.

That OSM of 17.22 places Lock in the “average” category, where all players with a 10-19 OSM fall. So, what can we glean from that?

Related | Broncos Mailbag: How far can Drew Lock lead Denver in 2020?

Lock was in his first year in the NFL last season, and the jump a rookie must make from college to the pros should not be underestimated. However, it is also important to note that he’s pushing close to the 20-29 category, which is the next tier up.

There were some notable performances from Lock if we examine his OSM on a game-by-game basis. In Week 13, Lock posted an OSM of 22.59, which he backed up with grades of 23.91 (Week 16) and 20.5 (Week 17) to close out the season. However, his best showing in regards to the OSM came in Week 14, when he registered a 29.22. That puts him right on the verge of the second-highest tier, just below the “elite” level.

Relative Athletic Score

We can also learn more about the potential of Lock from his Relative Athletic Score (RAS). Lock earned a RAS of 9.39 out of a possible 10.0 (when compared to the 2019 QB class), an extremely impressive return, and provides plenty of reason for optimism. When that number is adjusted to account for historical athletic testing performance, his RAS remains an impressive 9.35. In terms of current NFL players, his closest comparisons are Deshaun Watson (9.23) and Alex Smith (9.40).

However, there are some caveats regarding the assessment of quarterbacks using RAS:

“Athleticism with RAS always refers to measurable talent based on the drills presented in the combine and pro days. It doesn’t take into account arm strength, Wonderlic, or any other abstract that can be used to measure a quarterback. As such, it doesn’t have as large of a correlation as it does for other positions.”

Denver’s supporting cast in 2020 sets Lock up with what he needs to succeed

Heading into his second NFL season, Lock has some elements he needs to continue to develop, such as his throwing mechanics. He will also need to continue to work on his downfield passing and learning the playbook further.

As with any quarterback, the supporting cast can also make a large difference. Lock has what he needs to work with this year, more so than last season. The headline addition is former Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, who the team picked up in the 2020 NFL Draft at No.15 overall. Slotting Jeudy in next to the likes of Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant should give Lock plenty of option to choose from when he drops back.

Related | Denver Broncos TE Noah Fant’s rookie year was successful yet turbulent

The Broncos offense also won’t rely totally on the passing game, with free-agent acquisition Melvin Gordon, likely to shoulder some responsibility for getting this offense ticking. The Broncos have a fantastic one-two punch, with Phillip Lindsay in the mix having racked up 1,000 rushing yards in his first two NFL seasons.

Lock has the weapons and the raw talent to help this offense succeed. Now he just needs to put it together when the games start.

Is the sky the limit for Lock this year?

Looking at the realistic ceiling for the season, Lock could very well pass for over 4,000 yards and lead his team into what could be a very exciting postseason.

As a worst-case scenario, we see a quarterback who struggles to gain consistency and sends the Broncos back to square one in their search for a solid player to take the reins.

What we do know about Drew Lock enter 2020, it’s that there is a high level of hype surrounding him, and rightfully so.

Now he gets to answer the question of whether that hype is deserved or not.

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