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2019 Jaguars NFL Draft Profile: Missouri QB Drew Lock

Zach Goodall

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Nov 3, 2018; Gainesville, FL, USA; Missouri Tigers quarterback Drew Lock (3) calls a play during the second half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

While things are certainly “Haskins or Bust” in Jacksonville after Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins declared for the 2019 NFL Draft on Monday, Jaguars fans need to keep their minds open to the case in which the Jaguars can’t find a way to land the Heisman-contending gunslinger as their franchise quarterback.

Therefore, Locked On Jaguars has your fourth 2019 NFL Draft quarterback scouting report here. We’ve already covered Haskins, West Virginia’s Will Grier, and Duke’s Daniel Jones (as well as Oregon’s Justin Herbert, but he has announced he will return to school in 2019).

Let’s take a look at Missouri quarterback Drew Lock.

Lock, a 22 year old senior prospect who will be participating in the Senior Bowl in a couple of weeks, comes from a spread-out offensive system with almost four years (46 games) of starting experience. According to his profile on Missouri’s football website, Lock is the 9th SEC quarterback to ever have over 10,000 career passing yards, finishing his Tigers career with a stat-line of 883/1553 (56.9%), 12193 yards, 99 touchdowns and 39 interceptions. He also added 437 yards on 202 carries and nine rushing touchdowns.

The 6-4, 225 lb. quarterback stands out to me as a project quarterback with a ton of upside so long as he can nail down the mental side of the game, in terms of decision making, consistency, and NFL schematics. Let’s get to the film to see what Lock has to offer, and what he must improve on.

Natural throwing ability

Simply put: Drew Lock was put on this Earth to throw a football.

Lock manuevers pressure off the edge and from the B-gap blitzing linebacker and steps into a gorgeous, 42 air-yard throw to the middle of the field, hitting his receiver perfectly in stride and displaying necessary pocket comfort in order to score this touchdown.

And the best part about it is he makes the throw look so effortless. He never even set his feet, yet was able to generate power off of his front-step into the ball and deliver an absolute beauty.

Lock reads the entirety of the field from right to left and threads this ball with a needle. As soon as he gets his eyes on the target he launches this pass a whopping 57 air yards and about as in stride for a throw that deep as it can get.

When Lock is clean of pressure and can read his options with confidence, he can make almost any throw on the field. Especially deep balls, as he possesses a cannon of an arm and the necessary touch to put the ball where it needs to be.

Without ever setting his feet due to a pocket slide from pressure, Lock makes a cross-body toss to the back corner of the endzone in a window between two defenders for a score. While that combination isn’t usually recommended, natural throwing talents such as Lock are capable of making high-difficulty throws like this one.

The touch, loft, and placement on this sideline ball into double coverage is bonkers, and honestly one of the best throws I’ve seen while watching the 2019 QB class. On the previous drive, Lock tried this throw and it was intercepted (which will be broken down later in this piece), so going right back to it against a defense as talented as Alabama’s on back-to-back drives, especially on 3rd and long, is risky. But Lock puts this ball in the most perfect spot he could, with the outside cornerback getting back to the ball and an enclosing safety coming down to play the ball.

Clean pocket, Lock scans left to right and once again delivers a polished ball from a squeaky-clean release in between a tight man coverage cornerback and an enclosing safety. Lock puts this ball low and away through the tight window where the receiver elongates his body to bring in a perfectly led ball, no pause from his stride whatsoever. An absolute dime.

I have legitimate concerns with Lock reading defenses, which I’ll break down later on. But this play gives hope that he can mature in that aspect with the correct grooming. In a clean pocket, Lock reads post-snap that the two highlighted defenders are squaring up underneath right before the receiver breaks into the inside of his route. Lock diagnoses that and lets this ball rip to the middle of the field as the safety has taken on coverage on top. Lock needs to show this maturity much more often, but this is a smart football play and a pretty ball.

This is a perfect mix of velocity, accuracy, and clutch – all in this one tight window throw. Not much more explanation needed.

Mechanics

Drew Lock’s mechanics are interesting to breakdown.

When it comes to Lock’s upper-body mechanics: They’re great. His throwing motion and release are quick, compact, and precise. His shoulders are square, his forearm never drops below elbow-level which helps maintain his release speed, and his wrist-flick is super swift which gives his passes a truly beautiful spiral.

Here are a couple more examples of his arm mechanics to both the short and long field:

Even on this sidearm throw on a quick release post-pull on an RPO, Lock maintains a compact motion where he keeps his forearm even and above his elbow. Considering he sidearms this to keep the ball away from the nickel defender, the difficulty to maintain sound throwing mechanics here is high, despite the short route.

A quick release is the difference between this sideline adjustment catch for a 1st down and a batted pass and potential turnover on a long 3rd down here. Right out of the pull Lock gets this ball out with a lengthy enclosing blitzer in his face. The ability to release this so cleanly and quickly against the pressure, much less the touch and placement of the throw to the sideline itself, is top notch.

The release of this pass comes with the ball at helmet level, and it comes out incredibly smoothly and results in a bread-basket ball, in stride, down the sideline.

Now, with all of these pretty passes and a display of clean upper-body mechanics, I’m sure you have starteed to sell yourself on Drew Lock. But now, it’s time to flip the switch and understand what Lock doesn’t do well.

While his throwing motion and release are superb, Lock’s footwork is often a mess. Especially when there’s even a hint of pressure coming his way, he will begin to cross his feet over and sporadically move them around.

Pressure coming, and Lock sees no opening – even his RB checkdown to his right. Rather than trying to evade or at worst stepping up and ducking into a sack for minimal gain with pressure being obvious, Lock wants to play hero-ball and his poor, nervous footwork sets in. He starts backpedaling with no plan and ends up getting contacted 14 yards behind the line of scrimmage on a 3rd down, down two scores. What makes it worse? Lock panics and kind of hands the ball away before taking a sack, which counts as a fumble, that Alabama recovers in their own redzone. This is a serious red-flag type of play, from any quarterback – even the smartest of QBs.

Yes, this is a free play as Oklahoma State has 12 men on the field, but free plays can be utilized and this one provided touchdown-scoring ability. Right out of the RPO-pull, Lock begins to windup and target his opening primary read in the endzone. But Lock’s feet are totally uneven with his body and he throws the ball as he finally sets his feet. His weight never evens out enough to let this go cleanly and rather trusts his arm to make this throw way too much. This ends up being a mistake – Lock overthrows this ball by a good amount, and with too much velocity for his receiver to get underneath it. If Lock evens out his base and steps into what should be an easy throw here, Missouri declines the 12 men penalty because they instead put six points on the board.

This is a designed-RB screen. Lock knows that the left side is going to open up, especially considering Georgia blitzes the middle of the line. But Lock hops around with his feet and squares his body – ten toes aimed – at his target and can’t get the ball over the oncoming pressure. There was no way Lock could put the touch and depth he needed on this ball with his sporadic feet failing to create a decent base to enable getting air under this throw. This was one of multiple batted passes at the line of scrimmage that Lock had against Georgia.

Decision making and mental processing

This is where Lock struggles the most. Three plays above where Lock backpedals into a strip sack vs. Alabama applies to this section as well.

The underneath cross opens up and Lock stares it down like a hawk, but doesn’t strike despite clear pressure coming his way. He panics and begins to roll rightonly to realize a roll will turn into a sack. So, Lock plants his back foot and YOLO’s this ball back to the now-covered-but-was-previously-open cross route and sails the receiver. And Lock’s lucky the intermediate middle of the field didn’t have a route combo or else a defender most likely is in the area of the ball and intercepts it. Lock can’t abandon that wide-open read, and then panic and try to force it later on with pressure. That will lead to deadly mistakes.

Lock begins to side-step as a he diagnoses pressure coming off the right edge, but how doesn’t he realize that pressure isn’t slowing down? He holds onto the ball without a plan with a defensive end chasing his tail and when he finally begin his windup, his arm is already getting chopped at which forces a strip-sack. While the bottom slot receiver gets covered up quickly, there’s an opportunity with him in the short field to, at absolute worst, target this pass low and away in order to prevent a sack, or as what happened here, a turnover-worthy play.

Another glimpse at the pauses Lock has mentally. Double verticals to his left side, the safety is clearly opening his hips (this is important!) to the sideline before Lock even winds this pass up, and that opens up the middle of the field in a favorable speed matchup for the slot. If Lock sees that, this becomes a gimme-touchdown with Lock’s natural arm talent. He can make that deep throw assuming he reads what’s happening… he just doesn’t. A rangy NFL free safety probably gets up and intercepts this sideline ball. But as long as that safety dedicates his hips to that sideline vertical, the slot should almost always be open unless he’s against a speedster of a nickel cornerback. That isn’t the case here, Lock NEEDS to see that.

Lock seemingly doesn’t trust his protection as he abandons the strong-side here and targets a tightly-covered sideline route one-on-one. In doing so, Lock misses an easy chance to step up to the left and target the flats, but instead he way underthrows the sideline ball and it gets intercepted. Lock has to see pre-snap that the boundary corners are pressing but the top-left slot receiver has a flats advantage with the nickel playing off-man. Especially against competition such as Alabama’s defense, diagnosing and taking advantage of what’s being given is an area of concern for Lock and that’s evident here.

As soon as his throwing arm was hit and he had to tuck the ball with his opposite arm, Lock needed to understand he needed to play safe with the ball. Tuck it, take the sack, try to run when you break the contact, anything but throw it…

And yet, as soon as he breaks contact he flips the ball back into his throwing hand and just let’s the ball go. Lock had no time while taking hits to read if any receiver, much less the receiver in sideline traffic, to justify making this throw, but he does. Especially being down two scores, Lock has to be sharper than to make this type of decision. These types of decisions can lose teams ball games if luck doesn’t go their way.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Cannon arm
  • Natural upper-body mechanics, clean and compact throwing motion
  • 40 games of starting experience
  • SEC schedule, regularly played vs. top defenses
  • Completion % increased by 3-5% every year
  • Mobile in and out of pocket
  • Frame is excellent at 6-4, 225
  • Touch throws are polished when unpressured

Cons

  • Lower body mechanics are inconsistent
  • Feet are sporadic vs. pressure, base can be inconsistent
  • Averages nearly a turnover a game in career (47 interceptions/fumbles in 50 games)
  • Simplified scheme hasn’t developed mental processing
  • Misses easy reads under pressure
  • Pre-snap reads are minimal on tape

Conclusion

Drew Lock is that yearly quarterback that “has all the tools”, but needs work developing them.

Now, that isn’t necessarily a criticism, rather it’s a warning. I believe Lock has all the potential in the world to be an upper-level NFL starting quarterback if he enters a system that develops him at his own pace – think like Patrick Mahomes under Andy Reid in Kansas City. If Lock enters a system where he isn’t rushed into playing time and rather receives proper training to advance his mental game, it’s hard to imagine that he couldn’t find success with the natural physical talent he possesses.

However, the Jacksonville Jaguars are in a time-crunch where they must find a quarterback they can rely on out of the gate and that can win games now. Drew Lock is far from that. He’s a project. And the Jaguars are in no position to try to develop a project quarterback at this time.

Now, a team like the Denver Broncos makes a ton of sense, with a bridge quarterback in house for another season, some roster overhauling to do, and a new head coach entering the fold. If Lock falls out of the first round, Tampa Bay also makes a ton of sense under new head coach Bruce Arians, as Jameis Winston is entering his make-or-break year to prove he can be a starting quarterback in the NFL.

Anywhere Lock can sit and learn the mental aspects of the professional game would be optimal for his future success. Jacksonville isn’t that place.

Zach Goodall covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for the Locked On Jaguars podcast and website. Follow him on Twitter @zach_goodall.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue has plenty of leverage, wont use it

Demetrius Harvey

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Jul 26, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (91) runs a protection route during training camp at the Dream Finder Homes practice facility outside of TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

As the Jaguars began voluntary OTAs today there was at least one major storyline. Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue was present at practice today and plans to be present for the entire offseason. With Ngakoue ready for a new contract, many speculated he would be holding out until the contract is signed. That is not the case and Ngakoue stated today at his media presser, “I don’t have to be here, but I chose to be here.”

Showing up for voluntary OTAs is significant as it is typically a time when a player up for a contract would be almost expected to sit out due to the risk of injury. Jalen Ramsey, for example, works out in Nashville where he is most comfortable. Although he would be in Nashville regardless of contract, it is still an incentive to stay away for now.

“Just trying to build some team camaraderie, being a leader — that’s the main reason I came back” Ngakoue stated when asked why he was back for voluntary OTAs. Ngakoue taking more of a leadership role this offseason is already off to a roaring start. Showing up and leading by example for young players such as Josh Allen, Taven Bryan, etc, will pay dividends for the Jaguars future.

Earlier this offseason two players — Frank Clark and Demarcus Lawrence — earned contracts of upwards to $100M and Ngakoue is prepared to accept the same. Although he will ultimately let his agent perform the heavy lifting. When asked about the contracts of Clark and Lawrence and the prospect of getting a similar $100M contract, Ngakoue said, “It’s not a secret, we all can go on the computer and see what they did — that money don’t mean nothing but I know what I’m worth.”

This is great for the Jaguars and sets the tone for a potential future extension for Ngakoue. He is saying all of the right things, and this should give Jaguars fans something good to feel about as they continue throughout the offseason. Ngakoue is entering his fourth year and has accumulated 29.5 sacks through his first three seasons in the NFL. Ngakoue has shown the Jaguars no reason not to pay him as soon as possible. And they absolutely should.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Five significant Jaguars storylines heading into OTAs

Demetrius Harvey

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Jul 26, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette (27) runs with the ball following a catch as Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Myles Jack (44) runs behind during training camp at the Dream Finder Homes practice facility outside of TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The first of the Jaguars ten Organized Team Activities (OTAs) are starting today.  As the players get set to hit the field, there will be a multitude of storylines worth watching. This will be the first time the Jaguars coaches and their players can take part in 11 on 11 activities. Although there will be no pads for any of these practices.

The Jaguars will use this time to get better in terms of on-the-field performance, but their camaraderie as they get set to go with an abundance of new players, including the starting QB will be just as important.

The team’s OTAs will begin Tuesday (Today), May 21 and conclude on Friday, June 7, while the Jaguars’ three-day mandatory minicamp will take place June 11 – 13.

1. Nick Foles and the Jaguars offense

The Jaguars entered the 2019 offseason with a splash; signing quarterback Nick Foles to the highest guaranteed money a Jaguars player has ever received. Since then, they have made moves to allow for him to succeed, such as selecting tight end Josh Oliver and right tackle Jawaan Taylor in the draft just last month.

Quarterback is the most important position group on the team, and with Nick Foles at the center, all eyes will be on him from now on. It will be important for the Jaguars — and their fans —  to get a good look at the new offense under offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, and how well Foles can execute it. Although many fans feel the Jaguars did not adequately address the weapons on offense, there is a possibility the quarterback was holding the team back.

With Marqise Lee not ready yet, Keelan Cole, Dede Westbrook, and D.J. Chark will be the only Jaguars receivers on the Jaguars roster last season participating. It will be interesting to see their connection with Foles even as early as today.

2. How will the linebacker group shake out?

This storyline has almost as much intrigue as the quarterback situation. This is because of Telvin Smith posting an impromptu Instagram post revealing his intentions to sit out the 2019 season. The Jaguars have addressed the position during the offseason seemingly as a response to Smith not being in contact with the team prior to the draft. Selecting LB Quincy Williams at the bottom of the third round was the icing on the cake.

The Jaguars will look for a new weak-side linebacker and there have been plenty of questions of whether they will turn to a rookie, a new vet, or even Myles Jack to take over the position. Who takes over will be very important and we should get an answer sooner rather than later.

3. Rookies

The rookies are always a storyline and with the Jaguars selecting two premier players — Josh Allen and Jawaan Taylor — all eyes will be on them. Rookies are not typically thrust into starting positions too early, so do not it will not be a shock if Taylor is taking second-team reps or if Allen is not out there with the defensive line/linebacker group. However, it will be important to see exactly what position Allen plays as there has been speculation of him playing SAM since they drafted him.

Rookie TE Josh Oliver will be someone worth watching on offense. As mentioned earlier, he was a part of the Jaguars plan to get an influx of talent on offense. Quincy Williams, as previously mentioned, might be one of the more underrated rookies to watch for. How he plays during the offseason could change the entire linebacker group.

Obviously all eyes will be on the Jaguars rookies during the 10 OTAs starting today, however, these are the most important to keep an eye out on how they perform.

4. Safety situation

Probably one of the most talked about situations as far as depth on the roster this offseason has been safety. Before the end of the 2018 season, the Jaguars released strong safety Barry Church and circled back to release Tashaun Gipson earlier this offseason. This allowed then-rookie Ronnie Harrison to start in place of Church, and Jarrod Wilson to start in place of Gipson. How Wilson performs in this new role will be vital to the Jaguars success at free safety.

The Jaguars in this offseason have not addressed the safety position at all besides signing former AAF safety Josh Brown. How Jaguars undrafted rookies and other depth players attack this position will be important to watch out for as we begin OTAs.

5. No injuries, please

Seriously. If there is one thing the Jaguars cannot afford, it is an injury to a pivotal position. These practices are not supposed to be extensive but as we have seen in the past, anything can happen. If the Jaguars come out of these OTAs with no injuries, it will be a huge win entering mandatory minicamp in June, and training camp in July.

Keep a close eye on Jaguars players who are already injured. Players such as Marqise Lee, Jake Ryan, and Cam Robinson will be going through various levels of rehab. Lee will not be on the field, however, Ryan or Robinson might be closer to returning.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Should the Jaguars sign Gerald McCoy when he’s released?

Demetrius Harvey

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Dec 24, 2017; Charlotte, NC, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) reacts after a sack in the first quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive tackle  Gerald McCoy has recently been informed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers according to Adam Schefter at ESPN. According to Schefter, the Jaguars are one of the spots that “make sense”. This list includes the Patriots, Browns, Cowboys, and Chargers. McCoy wants to sign with a playoff team and the Jaguars were in the AFC Championship game in the 2017-2018 season.

There are a variety of factors to take into account if the Jaguars do intend to do their due diligence on Gerald McCoy. McCoy has been one of the most dominant defensive tackles since he was drafted third overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2010. Last season, McCoy accounted for 28 combined tackles and six sacks in 14 games. Although his sack production has not fallen off yet, he is 31 years old and has not been as dominant as he was in his younger days.

In 2018, the Jaguars drafted Taven Bryan in the first-round, and due to the salary cap, they released veteran defensive tackle Malik Jackson who immediately signed with the Philidelphia Eagles. If the Jaguars were to bring in McCoy the cost would almost assuredly be steep, and although they have ways to manipulate the cap, the question would be if Dave Caldwell or EVP Tom Coughlin would be willing to pay.

With Taven Bryan already locked into the starting role, it would also come down to how the Jaguars feel about the depth at the defensive tackle — specifically three-tech — position. The Jaguars only have Taven Bryan, Marcell Dareus, and Abry Jones entering this season at DT who have played significant roles. Calais Campbell also plays a role on specific downs.

Would Gerald McCoy make sense for the Jaguars? In theory, sure, but only at the right cost and if the player falls in their laps. The Jaguars released Malik Jackson due to cap reasons. Jackson is a younger player who — although he had a down year in 2018 — has had similar production to Gerald McCoy in recent years. Would they be willing to spend on the older player instead?

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