The Seahawks got Broncos quarterback Drew Lock in the Russell Wilson trade. Based on the tape, Lock is no Wilson replacement. Why did this happen?
When it comes to the Seattle Seahawks in their post-Russell Wilson universe, it’s all about what Pete Carroll and John Schneider get out of the draft picks and players they have from the trade. The Denver Broncos gave up two first-round picks (2022 and 2023), two second-round picks (2022 and 2023), a 2022 fifth-round pick, and defensive lineman Shelby Harris, tight end Noah Fant, and quarterback Drew Lock for Wilson and a 2022 fourth-round pick.
On its face, and considering how poorly the Seahawks have drafted over the last half-decade (avert your eyes), this trade would seem to favor the Broncos to a massive degree. If Denver believed it was just a quarterback away from a Super Bowl possibility (and that may be so), then acquiring Wilson allows the Broncos to possibly do what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did two seasons ago, and the Los Angeles Rams did last season — win the Super Bowl with a better-than-average roster, and the new star quarterback as the final piece. It’s not fool-proof, but you can understand why the Broncos went all-in here.
For the Seahawks, the Wilson (and the release of linebacker Bobby Wagner) means that it’s all about the rebuild. Whether Carroll and Schneider should be handed this rebuild, since they created the need for it in the first place? That’s a relevant debate, and it starts with Lock’s place in this trade.
Should Pete Carroll and John Schneider be trusted with the rebuild they created?
The Broncos selected Lock with the 42nd overall pick in the 2019 draft. That franchise was in the middle of a comical series of failures at the quarterback position after Peyton Manning’s retirement — the primary reason the Broncos haven’t made the playoffs since Manning’s retirement. Over three seasons, Lock completed 59.3% of his passes for 4,740 yards, 25 touchdowns, 20 interceptions, a career passer rating of 79.3, and a career ANY/A of 5.57. In 2020, his one full season as an NFL starter, Lock threw 16 touchdown passes, and led the league with 15 interceptions. This was one reason Denver brought Teddy Bridgewater in via trade with the Carolina Panthers before the 2021 season, and Lock’s role was subsequently reduced.
The Broncos moved on from head coach Vic Fangio after the 2021 season, replacing him with Nathaniel Hackett, and Hackett’s new staff. That new staff’s evaluation of Lock didn’t take long.
“The quarterback position is the leader of this organization in a sense,” new Broncos offensive coordinator Justin Outten, who was a coaching intern with the Atlanta Falcons in 2016, and an offensive assistant in 2017 and 2018, said in late February of the ideal quarterback room when Denver’s new coaching hired were announced — starting with head coach Nathaniel Hackett.
“They’re the guy that you have to lean on. It doesn’t matter if you’re on offense or defense or special teams. As far as the quarterback room itself, it’s got to be a supportive group. You’re working together. Being with [Falcons QB] Matt Ryan in Atlanta and having [Falcons QB] Matt Schaub as his counterpart, they would test each other every single day. Now, Matt Schaub knew that was his responsibility to make sure Matt Ryan was right each and every day of practice. It was just a collaborative situation, no different than the coaching style right now.
“Getting into the quarterback room with [Packers QB] Aaron [Rodgers] and his counterparts in there [Outten was also Green Bay’s tight ends coach from 2019-2021]. They were keeping each accountable, making sure things were light during the middle of season and keeping each other fresh. It was also a collaborative situation where they would shoot ideas off each other. I think that’s really important. It’s not just, this guy’s getting more reps than I am, so I’m just going to pout and do this. It should be: how can we make each other better? Having competitions within practice. They’ll take five minutes and throw a ball in a net 50 yards away. Keeping it competitive and having one up on each other, that’s the fun part of being in any room. It’s the competitive nature, while still being able to work together for the common good of the team, which is exciting.
“As far as [QB] Drew [Lock], he’s got a powerful arm. He’s done a really good job as far as using his legs and being an athlete. As far as that, I want to see how he fits in the system a little bit more once he gets the playbook under him, and then we’ll go from there.”
Clearly, the new Broncos staff did its due diligence on Lock and deemed him entirely fungible when the Wilson trade swung through. And based on Lock’s tape, that’s a reasonable conclusion. We have not yet heard the Seahawks’ reasoning for acquiring Lock. All we can do is to review his performance, and wonder.
So, what do the Seahawks have in Drew Lock, and why was he part of this trade in the first place? Based on the tape, Seattle got a plus backup at best.