As the Broncos head toward training camp, DenverBroncos.com is again taking a detailed look at several members of this year's rookie class. And aside from Denver's coaching staff, who better to call than their college coaches? These players honed their techniques while at school, and their coaches know better than most what to expect from these rookies.
This year's series concludes with Barry Odom, Missouri's head coach who worked with Drew Lock during the second-round pick's career in Columbia.
Aric DiLalla: From your vantage point, what would a scouting report of Drew's game look like?
Barry Odom: "I think if you look at the importance of that position, it's probably the hardest position to play in all of sport, but also the most important. The qualities that it takes to play at a high level at that spot, your football IQ has to be in a position that you understand what's in the play call, what you're trying to achieve. Drew does that. He understands how to move in and out of the call, maybe check and get the best look possible for the team to have success in that situation. So the mental side of it comes with preparation. He's a guy that's always liked football, and he likes not just the game of three hours, but the process leading up to that point of learning as much as he can learn about his opponent and how he can attack that to give the team an opportunity to be successful. He's a fiery competitor in every area, from knowledge of the playbook to practice reps to carrying it into game situations. He likes to win. He likes to compete. And then you get into the physical skill set that he has. I think it's hard to start anywhere differently than his ability to stretch the field vertically because of his arm strength and talent and his accuracy with those throws. … In four years, he had three different coordinators, and there wasn't a throw that we couldn't do or a play that we didn't like, because he can make them all. No matter where we were on the field, we felt comfortable in opening up the playbook because of his arm strength, his knowledge of the game and his ability to make the right decision."
AD: In 2017, Drew led the nation in completions of more than 50 yards. What allowed him to have so much success there?
BO: "Well, I think we had the skill set of the receivers to go do it, but … very few of them were throw a short pass, receiver turns it into a 50-yard gain. They were all vertical shots down the field. His accuracy on being able to put the ball where the receiver can only catch it [was] as good as I've ever seen with that ability. It didn't matter if it was the right side of the field, the left, down the middle. I know it's different in the NFL with the markings on the field, but it didn't matter what hash[mark]. He was able to make a throw. We had some receivers at that time where their linear speed allowed us the opportunity to stretch the field vertically. Through repetition and the opportunity that he had to continually work on stretching the field, he wasn't afraid. He knew where he could place the ball to take those shots."
AD: Is there a story that stands out to you that showcases Drew's competitiveness?
BO: "The start of his senior season, we were 4-4 through eight games. And probably, if you look at it, it could've went either way. We could've ended up finishing on the run that we did or not going as well. Drew led us in so many ways off the field, in the locker room, competitively on the practice field. But we'd just lost a heartbreaking loss on the last play of the game to Kentucky to put us to 4-4, and then the next week we were going to Florida. … And Drew had some moments that week leading into the [game]. He was on fire. Competitively rallying guys around him, but also the expectation that we were going to go down there to win. He played maybe one of his smartest, best college games and we ended up winning 38-17 at Florida, and it was because he led us that week. There was no denying his purpose. It carried our team the rest of the [regular season]. We didn't lose another game until we got to the bowl game. A great credit to a lot of folks, but he was leading the charge competitively as we got into that stretch of the season."
AD: When Drew was drafted, John Elway said Drew was going to come in and compete for the backup role. How do you think Drew will handle competing for that role after being a starter for several years?
BO: "I think he will be the ultimate teammate. He'll represent the organization in tremendous ways — in every step that he takes — but also he's going to prepare himself to go be ready to play if his number is ever called. He understands and realizes how fragile the game is. You're a play away from being the guy. He understands the mental toll and the mental process that it takes to put yourself in position to really be able to go play. If you always prepare like you're the starter, then you don't have anything to worry about. And I know he'll take that mental approach. He'll provide any feedback that Joe [Flacco] wants, but also not overstep his boundary. He will prepare just like he's going into every Sunday as if he's the starting quarterback. If that opportunity ever presents itself, he'll be ready. He'll be prepared. He'll be trained and ready to do anything he can to help the organization win."
AD: One thing that I'm sure is on the mind of a lot of Broncos fans: Are we going to convert some Chiefs fans now that Drew is with the Broncos?
BO: "That thing goes so deep. I understand, I've been in the state of Missouri for a long time, so I understand the rivalries that exist. I do know — and I'll get grilled for saying this — but there are a lot of fans who are Drew Lock fans, I know that. What a great story. He is as Mizzou of a person as you can be, as is his family. I would imagine there will be a few more Broncos jerseys being sported around because of the affinity they have and the love they have for Drew and his family."