ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — A little less than a year ago, Drew Lock got his first taste of what it was like to be in the NFL.
As part of the North team's roster at the Senior Bowl, Lock worked with the Raiders' coaching staff throughout the week. Speaking with Denver media on Thursday, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said Lock impressed him at that time particularly with how he carried himself as a leader.
"He's just a likable guy, number one," Gruden said. "I think he's a very confident, likable young man with talent. He's got a lot of charisma about him. I think the players like him and I think the players enjoy playing for him because he's got some natural leadership, and he has fun playing. It's a really good prospect to have, no doubt."
In a video on the Raiders' website, Gruden further discussed how they worked together and how he and his staff tried to get a sense for Lock's acumen.
"[He's] a very talented kid. ... Came down to Mobile, and our coaching staff — Greg Olson, our coordinator, [and] Tom Cable, our line coach — we put a lot of plays in to try to see what Daniel Jones, of the New York Giants, and [Ryan] Finley, who's with the Bengals, and Drew Lock could do. And he was impressive."
Lock, who was the North team's starting quarterback at the Senior Bowl, completed 9-of-14 passes for 57 yards in the game against other college players.
Looking back at that week and Lock's time at Missouri, Gruden said the young quarterback's experience playing in different schemes has helped him transition to the NFL.
"I'm sure it did," Gruden said. "He played for [University of Missouri Offensive Coordinator] Derek Dooley, who was with the Dallas Cowboys as a receivers coach, so some of the principles that they ran at Missouri are principles that are recognizable in the NFL. He's not a novice by any stretch. He played for a lot of different coaches — coordinators, I should say — and he got results in every system that he was put in. Heck, I got a chance to coach him in the Senior Bowl and he ran our stuff pretty darn good, too."
As he's watched Lock lead the Broncos to a 3-1 record as their starting quarterback, the former quarterback guru for ESPN said Lock's progress has been promising for the Broncos.
"Obviously, you see arm talent and you see a young quarterback that is gaining confidence in the system," Gruden said. "He's being asked to do more and more every week. He shows very good athleticism. His touch and his accuracy have been impressive. He's got our attention, no doubt. He's been impressive."
In the video with the Raiders, Gruden went a bit further as he breaks down tape of Lock, starting with his 309-yard, three-touchdown outing against the Texans.
"He's got a lot of poise, he loves football and he's really taken advantage of his opportunity," Gruden said. "When you watch Lock play against the Houston Texans a couple weeks ago, my goodness. He puts 38 points on the board like that. And he did it with pocket accuracy."
Even more than the arm talent, Gruden said he's really drawn to Lock's approach to the game.
"I like guys that work at it, that love it and would play for nothing," Gruden said. "... [U]nfortunately, Denver's got one in Drew Lock. He's a good kid with a big upside, and he obviously can throw the ball from different platforms."
Shortly after that, Gruden watched a snap in which Lock threw a perfect pass on the run from a bootleg play against the Lions.
"This is an impressive throw right here," Gruden said. "I'm starting to get a little nervous."