COLUMBIA, Mo. – There’s no guarantee where Drew Lock will eventually be drafted, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said on a conference call Tuesday, but his stock continues to rise following a strong finish to the 2018 season and a promising start to the all-important pre-draft showcases.
Kiper had Lock going to the Washington Redskins with the No. 15 overall pick in his Mock Draft 2.0, which was released Monday.
“He could be there in the late-first, early-second round,” Kiper said. “Everybody thought, there’s no built-in consensus on where Lock is going to go. He’s got the big time arm, he had a really good finish to the year with the last seven games.”
Kiper did not have Lock, a Lee’s Summit High School graduate, going in the first round of his initial mock draft, which came out before the Senior Bowl.
“Welcome to the first round, Drew Lock,” Kiper wrote in his Mock Draft 2.0. “He was the best quarterback at the Senior Bowl, and he might have the most arm talent of any passer in this class.
“Now, he’s inconsistent. He misses throws and needs a lot of work on his footwork. He put some bad performances on tape in 2018, thought he finished the season strongly. You can see on that tape, though, why a team could fall in love and take the 6-4, 228-pound Lock early.”
The last five months have no doubt been great for Lock’s draft potential, though Kiper said he became a fixture on the NFL’s radar as a junior.
“Two years ago,” Kiper said Tuesday, “during the season I got a call from a GM in the NFL saying, ‘Hey, you know the guy who’s got the best arm in college football? Drew Lock.’”
Josh Allen was still at Wyoming at that time, Kiper pointed out. Allen’s arm strength was the main reason why he was picked seventh overall by the Buffalo Bills last year.
Kiper doesn’t see that type of potential for Lock, who he considers to be a mid-to-late first round pick. While Kiper’s latest projection has Lock going to Washington – which could be in the market for a new quarterback following a devastating leg injury to starter Alex Smith in 2018 – Kiper also added fuel to the thought that Lock could end up with the Denver Broncos.
Broncos’ general manager John Elway was in attendance for Lock’s final home game, against Arkansas on Nov. 24, and NFL.com’s Benjamin Allbright reported that Elway told Lock he’d be a “top-10 pick” during a meeting the two had during Senior Bowl week in January.
Denver has the No. 10 pick in this year’s draft and recently traded for veteran quarterback Joe Flacco.
“You talk about Denver with John Elway, John Elway’s going to love seeing that rocket arm,” Kiper said, referring to Lock. “Joe Flacco’s going to be in the mid-30s, he’s had the injuries, you could go out and get a Drew Lock. But I would say trade down from 10 maybe. I have him going 15 to Washington – some think he’s a second-round pick, not a first-round pick.”
Lock was one of four quarterbacks Kiper had going in the first round of his latest Mock Draft. Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins was the first one off the board, going to the New York Giants with at No. 6. Kiper had Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, going to the Miami Dolphins at No. 13.
Lock has frequently been compared to Duke quarterback Daniel Jones, who was named the Senior Bowl MVP. Kiper has Jones going to the New England Patriots with the final pick of the first round.
“Jones is an athletic 6-4 signal-caller who can be an erratic thrower at times but is already advanced in his footwork,” Kiper wrote in his Mock Draft 2.0.
Kiper has Lock as the highest-rated senior quarterback in the draft. He said Tuesday that West Virginia’s Will Grier could be a late-first- or early-second-round pick, North Carolina State’s Ryan Finley could be a second-round pick and Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham could be a third-round pick.
BECKNER, HALL SOLID PROSPECTS: Two other Tigers besides Lock have good odds to have their names called during this year’s draft.
Kiper said Tuesday that Terry Beckner could potentially be selected during Day 2 of the draft, which includes the second and third rounds.
“Most of the year I had him in the Top 10 for defensive tackles,” Kiper said Tuesday. “Once the juniors came into that mix it pushed him down just a bit. But he gets into the backfield. The way he can be disruptive, he has the same grade as some Round 3 guys. I’d say late Day 2, early Day 3 for Beckner.”
Kiper also had praise for wide receiver Emanuel Hall. Hall played in eight games for Missouri in 2018 and finished his senior year with 37 catches for 828 yards and six touchdowns.
He said Hall could be selected on Day 3 of the draft, during rounds 4 through 7.
“I’m surprised Lock played as well as he did when he didn’t have his main guy and he had to source other options,” Kiper said. “... With his size, he has good length, he’ll have some concentration drops at times, but he’s got the ability to get down the field.”