Wednesday Pete Carroll and John Schneider met with the media, spending a good portion of the press conference discussing Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner and the departure of the veteran duo from the Seattle Seahawks. When the discussion turned to the Wilson trade, the pair discussed their hopes for the newly acquired Drew Lock in 2022, in particular citing a five game sample from Lock’s rookie campaign in 2019 during which the Broncos went 4-1.
So, with that in mind, a quick review of that five game sample seems in order. For those who would like a film review of Lock’s 2019 on field performance, Ted Nguyen of The Athletic did just that back in July of 2020. That said, for those who want the quick and dirty on Lock’s on field performance in 2019, here are his statistics from his rookie year:
- 64.1% completion, 7 TD, 3 INT, 89.7 passer rating, 50.2 QBR and 6.17 Net Yards per Attempt
The completion percentage and touchdown to interception ratio are fine, while the QBR and the NY/A are right around league average. The importance of the QBR and the NY/A being league average is that both of these metrics correlate highly with winning, in particular several analyses have found that NY/A is the most predictive stat when it comes to predicting outcomes. That said, there have been several newer metrics developed in recent seasons that are highly predictive in terms of wins and losses, but NY/A continues to be very strongly positively correlated with winning in the NFL.
That said, of course, in order to fully evaluate the numbers Lock posted in 2019, it obviously makes sense to evaluate the defenses he faced that year. So, to that end, in the five games he started to close out his rookie season his opponents were:
- Week 13: Los Angeles Chargers
- Week 14: Houston Texans
- Week 15: Kansas City Chiefs
- Week 16: Detroit Lions
- Week 17: Oakland Raiders
That’s not a horrible lineup of competition, as those four teams combined to go 37-42-1 during 2019, and of course both the Chiefs and Texans made the playoffs. However, looking past just the records of the competition and focusing on the defensive strength of the opponents he faced during that four-game stretch, here is where the defense of each of those teams finished in the DVOA rankings that season:
- Chargers: 26th by DVOA
- Texans: 23rd by DVOA
- Chiefs: 24th by DVOA
- Lions: 29th by DVOA
- Raiders: 17th by DVOA
In short, the numbers Lock posted in carrying the Broncos to four wins in five games came against five defenses that all finished below the median, with three of them finishing the season in the bottom quartile. In addition, in his review of Lock’s play in The Athletic, Nguyen pointed out the following:
Some of Lock’s advanced metrics paint a bleak picture. Pro Football Focus’ most stable metric for a quarterback is his passing grade from a clean pocket. Lock’s passing grade from a clean pocket was 71.6, which ranked 32nd among the 39 NFL QBs with 100+ clean-pocket dropbacks.
He struggled against the blitz in college and didn’t improve in that area in the pros. Lock recorded a 47.3 PFF passing grade against the blitz, ranking 35th among the 37 QBs with 50+ dropbacks against the blitz.
His rate of turnover-worthy plays was unusually high. 3.3 percent of his passes were deemed turnover worthy, which ranked 33rd among qualifying quarterbacks.
For those wanting to look at even more advanced metrics, Lock’s Expected Points Added per Dropback paints a somewhat ugly picture.
It's worth noting that Lock only played well in 1 of those games (Houston). 0.71 EPA/dropback against Houston, -0.02 against the other 4 opponents.— Khal_Draco (@KhalDraco3) March 17, 2022
Now, the giant caveat here, of course, is that Lock was an extremely raw rookie in 2019 after having played in a spread offense at Missouri in college. There’s no question he has a strong arm and has shown flashes of athleticism at times, but his mechanics and execution when he has had a chance to see the field have been, in a word, ugly. Obviously, though, he’s just 25 and still has plenty of time to develop as a player.
How Lock will perform on the field for the Seahawks won’t be known until at least training camp in August. Further, it’s entirely possible that Shane Waldron, who was the passing game coordinator for the 2018 NFC Champion Rams and Jared Goff, could work another miracle.