He was a heralded prospect out of Missouri who was first-team All-SEC in 2017 and led the country in passing touchdowns with 44.
Overall, in his four years with Mizzou, Lock threw for 12,193 yards, 99 touchdowns, and 39 interceptions.
When the Broncos selected Lock, they were still looking to replace Peyton Manning, who retired following the the 2016 NFL season.
They drafted Paxton Lynch in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft, but he flamed out after five games with the team.
Lock was drafted with hopes that he could be Denver’s quarterback of the future.
He started five games as a rookie and went 4-1, throwing for 1,020 yards and a 7/3 TD/INT ratio.
Lock maintained his starting role heading into the 2020 season and started 13 games for the Broncos, going 4-9.
He completed just 57.3 percent of his passes for 2,933 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions.
Lock’s interceptions were tied with then Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz for most in the NFL; despite missing three games.
Falling Out Of Favor
Heading into the 2021 season, the Broncos traded a sixth-round pick to the Carolina Panthers for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
The two were engaged in an intense battle for starting duties that lasted all offseason.
But with Week 1 of the regular season approaching, head coach Vic Fangio has named Bridgewater the Broncos starting quarterback.
Broncos named Teddy Bridgewater their starting QB.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 25, 2021
Lock still has one year left on his four-year, $7 million contract.
At a modest price, it seems unlikely that the Broncos would outwardly release him; not with the regular season so close anyway.
But after serving as Denver’s starting quarterback for almost two seasons, Lock now sits in limbo.
While he may not be the starter, that doesn’t mean Lock doesn’t provide value to the Broncos.
Lock’s biggest flaw in the NFL, and even dating back to college, has been his inconsistency.
He has a strong arm and is capable of making the deep throw.
That was evident in Denver’s Week 1 preseason game, a 33-6 win over the Minnesota Vikings, where Lock hit wide receiver KJ Hamler for an 80-yard touchdown.
— TWSN (@TWSN___) August 14, 2021
But Lock’s decision-making and inaccuracy, throwing 15 interceptions in 13 games last season, is what cost him the starting role.
Bridgewater has been the exact opposite quarterback during his time in the NFL.
He has appeared in 59 games at the NFL level for the Vikings, Saints, and Panthers, starting 49 of them.
He carries a 26-23 overall record.
Over his career, Bridgewater has completed 66.5 percent of his passes for 11,385 yards and a 53/36 TD/INT ratio.
He has added 186 carries for 713 yards and an additional nine scores.
Bridgewater started 15 games for the Panthers last season, going 4-11 and throwing for 3,733 yards, 15 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions.
The yards and touchdowns were both career-highs while the 11 picks were one short of his career high of 12, which he accomplished as a rookie in 2014.
Bridgewater has always been a methodical quarterback.
He is more concerned about getting the ball to his pass-catchers and moving the chains, rather than always looking for the big play.
After watching Lock turn the ball over so many times, that methodical approach might be what earned Bridgewater the starting job.
But Bridgewater is a free agent after this season following the completion of a one year, $11.5 million contract.
His play will determine if the Broncos bring him back next season.
For Lock, now he will have an opportunity to learn behind the six-year veteran.
Perhaps he gets a better grasp on decision-making.
If he is given the opportunity to once again start next season, learning behind the veteran will only benefit him.
Lock is only 24 years old, turning 25 in November.
For the Broncos, Lock provides an above-average backup who understands the offense.
Bridgewater has appeared in all 16 games just once in his career.
In case of injury, or if Bridgewater struggles, the Broncos know they have a gunslinger who could help them win football games if he limits the mistakes.
For a team with playoff hopes, it makes sense to go with the veteran who has proven at times he could succeed in the NFL.
Lock must now wait for another opportunity to be an NFL starter.
If/when that comes is still a question mark.
But for this season, Lock provides the Broncos with a solid backup who could start in a pinch.
If he is able to learn and continue to develop behind Bridgewater, perhaps Denver has their quarterback of the future already on the roster.