ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — In the months since the 2020 season ended, a seemingly endless flurry of rumors and reported trades involving several veteran quarterbacks has supercharged the normally quiet period before free agency.
The Broncos have at times been the subject of such speculation as they hope to find stability at the position, but in conversations with local media on Thursday, General Manager George Paton and Head Coach Vic Fangio said they remain believers in Drew Lock.
Paton, who delved into the team's film on Lock since becoming GM in January, said that though the evaluation isn't quite complete, Lock has the tools required to be successful in the NFL.
"There's so much that goes into it, into evaluating a quarterback," Paton said. "I like to see him live, you like to see him in critical situations, you like to see the accuracy. How is he with his teammates? What's the leadership like? I can't give you three things; there's so much involved on evaluating a quarterback, so I look forward to evaluating Drew further in person.
"But he does have all the traits you look for in a quarterback."
But though Paton noted that he can see the promise the young quarterback holds, it won't preclude the team from making a move to bring in competition at the position, should they decide to.
"[He's] very talented, was inconsistent at times, has a lot to work on," Paton said. "But I've spoken with Drew, I see him every day, he's here early, he's working. He really wants to be great. We're always going to try to bring in competition at every position, and quarterback as well, but I like the track that Drew's on."
Paton maintained that the Broncos will be active during the offseason to seek out that level of competition — "anything to help our football team" — and also said they wouldn't rule out selecting a quarterback with the team's ninth-overall pick in the NFL Draft.
As Fangio later said, the team is committed to fostering competition at quarterback as long as they're searching for the kind of top-level play that drives teams to success.
"Obviously we're always looking to bring in players at all positions that can raise the level of competition, and the quarterback is no different in that regard," Fangio said. "Until we get or until Drew proves to be the next great quarterback, like the ones that the Denver franchise has been used to in years past or certain teams around the league … are used to, we're going to always try and bring in competition. But I have confidence that Drew can continue to improve."
Lock's status leading the offense will likely be dependent on proving that continued progress. In his first full season as the team's starting quarterback, Lock struggled to continue the run of success that capped his rookie season. In 2020, Lock started 13 games and completed 57.3 percent of his passes for 2,933 yards and 16 touchdowns. His 15 interceptions, however, tied for the league lead.
But in frequent visits to UCHealth Training Center to work out on his own during the early offseason months, Lock appears to clearly be dedicated to holding his spot as Denver's top quarterback and proving he can be a franchise quarterback.
"I'm confident that Drew's going to continue to improve," Fangio said. "Drew's had a great offseason up to this point. There's not a lot you can do, but he's working hard on his own, coming over here and getting workouts and I know he's doing a lot at home by himself, watching video by himself. He's got a good setup over there. And he's doing anything and everything he can to improve, even in February and now in March.
"I feel like he'll continue to improve."