PALM BEACH, Fla. — When the Seattle Seahawks were weighing the opportunity to complete a blockbuster trade with the Denver Broncos, centered around longtime franchise QB Russell Wilson, part of their discussion involved acquiring a QB in return. Drew Lock, a former second-round pick, was one of three players — along with tight end Noah Fant and defensive end Shelby Harris — to get shipped to Seattle, along with a package of premium draft picks, for Wilson earlier this month. While Lock left the Broncos as a failed experiment, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll thinks the Missouri alum still has untapped potential.
Pete Carroll says Drew Lock still has pre-draft promise
The Seahawks have thought highly of Lock since he was a draft prospect in 2019. Playing the pass-happy Missouri offense, Lock threw for 12,193 yards and 99 touchdowns during his four-year college career.
While Wilson was firmly entrenched as the Seahawks’ franchise QB at the time, Seattle liked what they saw from Lock. And their interest was piqued when the 25-year-old came up in trade discussions earlier this month.
Speaking to reporters at the NFL’s annual owners’ meeting in South Florida, Carroll said the 2019 pre-draft process factored into Lock’s appeal to the franchise.
“When Drew came out of college — we made our assessments and evaluated him [for] the draft — we saw him as a big, strong-armed, mobile, aggressive, athletic quarterback,” Carroll said Tuesday. “He had thrown a ton of footballs. He had a very aggressive program where you got to see him do everything … and we really liked what we saw. We can still see that. We see that right now when we watch the film.”
Fixing the Lock
Lock has been through quite a bit of adversity in the three years since the Seahawks studied him as a prospect. He started his rookie season on injured reserve after suffering a thumb injury in the preseason. He would return during the home stretch of the campaign, leading the Broncos to a 4-1 record, but his offensive coordinator, Rich Scangarello, was fired immediately after the season.
With Pat Shurmur replacing Scangarello, Lock struggled during his sophomore campaign. He led the Broncos to a 4-9 record, as he tossed 15 interceptions and just 16 touchdowns.
The Broncos traded for Teddy Bridgewater last season, and Lock was relegated to backup duty. When he was able to start in three games last year, Lock struggled, as he went 0-3 with extended action.
Despite those lumps, Carroll and the Seahawks believe they can get more out of Lock than the Broncos did. The first order of business: cutting down the turnovers.
“Unfortunately for him, his play has come about where there’s a lot of turnovers in his game,” Carroll said. “That just doesn’t fit with us. We just have to fix that. We have to change the mentality and do the things that we can do to help him be his best.”
Capitalizing on ‘upside’
The Seahawks own the ninth overall pick in next month’s draft. The selection was acquired as part of the Wilson deal and could theoretically be used on his successor at QB.
With notable prospects like Liberty’s Malik Willis and Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett available, it’s fair to wonder if Lock is simply seen as a veteran reclamation project who will serve as a transitional starting quarterback while an intriguing prospect gets adjusted behind the scenes.
But Lock, who is entering the final year of his rookie deal, won’t turn 26 until November. He’s playing on a relatively cheap contract for a team that is clearly rebuilding. In a way, he is entering a situation where there’s nowhere to look but up, similar to a high-profile rookie prospect heading into a mediocre situation.
The major difference is that Lock actually knows what he’s getting into at this point. And Carroll thinks Lock still has plenty of room for improvement, which could play into the team’s draft plans at the QB spot.
“He’s played a lot of football and we think we can capitalize on that,” Carroll said. “All we’re seeing right now is upside.”