At No. 10 overall, the Denver Broncos were expected to take Missouri quarterback Drew Lock.
Instead, they didn’t take Lock — or anyone for that matter — at ten, they dropped back to No. 20 overall and picked up an additional second as well as a third-round pick in 2020. There, they took tight end, Noah Fant, who played second fiddle to T.J. Hockenson in the lead-up to the draft.
Then, at 41, the Broncos selected Dalton Risner, the feel-good, hometown story kid who looks to be an absolute stud on the field, too.
And with Lock still sitting there at No. 42 overall, Denver traded back up to take the quarterback in the mid-second round.
Is he the quarterback of the future? If Denver thought he was, they likely would have pulled the trigger at No. 10. But, at No. 42, he’s a great value in comparison and if he somehow does turn into a stud, the pick will be looked on as a gem.
For John Elway, Lock becomes the sixth quarterback he’s taken, the most by any team since 2011 and when he took over the front office. To be fair, three of those QBs came in the sixth or seventh rounds, however, Paxton Lynch was a first-rounder and Brock Osweiler was taken in the second. Just like Lock.
Elway, one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the NFL, doesn’t have an eye for quarterbacking talent. It’s one of the saddest ironies in the NFL, especially if you’re a fan of the orange and blue.
Quarterbacks lead the offense, call the plays, rally their troops and the good ones conduct themselves with poise. Lock can’t do just some of those things, but all of them to be successful in Denver, all while throwing darts, bombs and touch passes.
The simple truth is, no one knows for sure which quarterbacks will translate from college to the NFL, nor, how long it will take them to reach their peak.
Elway was drafted No. 1 overall. He was a surefire superstar. But, is Kyler Murray? It’s just too early to tell, and despite his achievements in the NCAA, he’s still got a ton of hurdles to clear before he’s considered a star in the big leagues.
On the other end of the spectrum, Tom Brady was taken in the 6th round of the 2000 draft. Meanwhile, Joe Montana was taken in the 3rd round, and so was the NFL’s highest-paid player, Russell Wilson (after Osweiler).
Could Lock turn out to be a star? If we’re being honest, yes, but it’s a slim chance he does.
The immediate future for him is sitting on the bench and learning from Joe Flacco. Elway named Flacco the starting quarterback for the Broncos right after Lock was drafted, extinguishing the spark before it had a chance to become a fire.
For now, Lock — who has all the raw talent to be a great quarterback — needs to work on the fine mechanics of his footwork as well as making all the right throws at the right times. He’ll learn under the tutelage of Rich Scangarello, who helped third-string QB Nick Mullens rip the Denver defense apart late last year.
Lock will have to ace his crash course in quarterbacking at the NFL level in order to start in 2020, but at the very least, the Broncos took a chance on a kid who has a high ceiling. That should tide over the fans, at least for a season.
Meanwhile, if Lock does indeed become the next quarterback to lead the team, it’s likely Dalton Risner will be blocking for him.
The Wiggins, CO native is massive, at 6’5″ and 312 pounds, and at No. 41 he’s another great value pick because he’s expected to start immediately. The Broncos need just that from Risner, who went on to earn second-team All-American as a senior at Kansas State.
Risner played center as a freshman with three years as a right tackle following. But, Denver signed Ja’Wuan James to play right tackle this offseason, and 2017 first-round pick Garett Bolles is playing left tackle, so it seems likely the Centennial State native is moved inside to right guard.
Risner has a better chance to become the starter Denver needs than does Lock, simply from the position each of them play, but neither are a guarantee.
However, if each reach their potential, they’ll be the cornerstones of Denver’s offense for many years to come.