Like it or not, the Broncos should stick with Drew Lock at QB in 2022
As the days go by, the prospect of Aaron Rodgers to Denver seems less likely. If the Broncos are unable to trade for Rodgers, they should go into the 2022 season with Drew Lock as their starting quarterback.
This isn’t a Drew Lock “stan” opinion. Drew Lock has played poor as a starting NFL quarterback.
This isn’t a “develop Lock” argument. Lock is not nor will he be the future of the franchise. The Broncos won’t make the playoffs starting Lock, but they won’t make the playoffs with any of the other non-Rodgers options.
Why should Lock be the starter? Because it would break the pattern of the Broncos quarterback strategy.
Since Peyton Manning retired, the Broncos have done one of two things: Try to find a quarterback outside the top 10 of the draft and develop him or start a middle-of-the-road veteran. Neither plan has worked.
Starting Lock would have nothing to do with Lock. It has to do with the Broncos taking a step back and taking a macro approach to the quarterback position. Rather than make a desperate and delusional decision that creates the illusion of immediate success, the Broncos need a breather.
Heading into 2022 with Lock would be a shift in philosophy. The Broncos would be honest with themselves. The Broncos are not going to “develop” a limited rookie quarterback and they are not a “game managing” quarterback away from competing.
Start Lock until a viable and legitimate quarterback plan presents itself. Lock isn’t Tom Brady, but he has started multiple games in the NFL and the Broncos know what they have in him. Staying patient and waiting for the best option at quarterback while Lock starts is a more logical strategy than what they’ve been doing.
Reaching on a quarterback in a weak draft class would only serve to cause another setback. The Broncos can’t draft a raw quarterback with the hope of “developing” him. Developing quarterbacks is a myth. Quarterbacks are either good or they aren’t; the good ones get better with experience. Developing a franchise quarterback has never happened. If it was that simple, everybody would do it.
The available (or potentially available) veteran quarterbacks don’t improve the Broncos chances of being a contender.
Jimmy Garoppolo would be the best Broncos quarterback since Peyton Manning, but he’s not the one to carry a team. Garoppolo has only been coached by Bill Belichick and Kyle Shanahan; it’s hard to believe he would take a big step under a first-time head coach.
Garoppolo might get the Broncos a few more wins, but he doesn’t get the Broncos any closer to winning the AFC West let alone a Super Bowl.
Carson Wentz would be the dumbest decision the Broncos could make. He’s terrible.
Kirk Cousins is probably staying in Minnesota, but if he was available the Broncos shouldn’t pursue him. Cousins is fancy on paper but doesn’t win on the field. Cousins, like Garoppolo, would be the best quarterback since Manning, but he doesn’t get the Broncos any closer.
Point is, Garoppolo, Wentz, Cousins, Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, all would be repeating the cycle. The Broncos with Lock is not much different than the Broncos with any of those options.
The Broncos wouldn’t win a lot of games with Lock. That’s okay. The Broncos will get a higher draft pick that allows them to target their quarterback of the future in a draft class with better potential.
Without Rodgers (or Russell Wilson), the Broncos are a rebuilding team. A veteran quarterback does nothing, and a second-round-graded quarterback keeps them from going all in on a quarterback in 2023. Paxton Lynch made the Broncos miss out on Patrick Mahomes and Drew Lock made the Broncos miss out on Justin Herbert. It’s short-sighted to reach on a quarterback because the Broncos have their back against the wall.
If the Broncos truly believe in one of these rookie quarterbacks, then they should draft that player. But they should not draft one because they feel they must.
No, starting Lock is not a plan. Starting Lock is showing self-awareness. The Broncos don’t have any real options to dramatically improve in 2022 at the quarterback position.
The Broncos need to find their quarterback of the future, unfortunately, this is probably not the offseason they’ll do it. Last season was the time, and George Paton made a bad choice at ninth overall.
By starting Lock, the Broncos are looking beyond the season in front of them. The Broncos were so obsessed with trying to get back to the playoffs, they made a series of bad decisions that kept them out of the playoffs.
The biggest lesson is, when you need a quarterback and have a top-10 pick in a deep quarterback class, don’t draft a pass rusher or cornerback.
Drew Lock should start, not because he deserves it, but because it makes the most sense. Without Rodgers, the Broncos aren’t left with any solid options. If the Broncos can’t land the franchise quarterback via trade, Lock gives them time to take a step back and figure out their plan. If the Broncos start Lock, they take a hit for one more season, but it will be much better than kicking the can down the road like they’ve done since 2016.