Drew Lock arrived in Denver as a second-round pick and potentially that franchise's quarterback of the future.
After a promising finish to his rookie season and an up-and-down second season, however, Lock lost the starting job in 2021. Now Lock finds himself in Seattle, a piece in the blockbuster trade that sent Russell Wilson to Denver, as a player hoping a fresh start with the Seahawks can lead to big things with a new team.
"I was ready for something to happen," Lock said of being traded. "And then when I found out that this is what happened, I was really, really excited. Excited for a fresh start, excited to come in and compete for a starting job and do everything I can to show this organization and show this league what I'm capable of doing, and that's playing really good football."
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider both noted in last week's press conference that a change in scenery could be good for Lock, a player who arrived in Denver with a lot of hype, had some struggles, had to adjust to multiple coordinators, and who eventually lost the starting job to Teddy Bridgewater.
"New teammates, new coaching staff, new energy, new this, new that, new feel, whatever it may be—a new practice field—it's just the true definition of a fresh start, everything is new," Lock said. "You get to make a new identity for everything, you get to come in and show these people how hard you want to work, how bad you want it, how bad you want to win football games. There's just a lot of good that can come from a new chair in a meeting room. There's just a lot that goes into all this, and a fresh start for me is really, really exciting."
Lock said repeatedly that he didn't want to make excuses for his struggles in Denver, but there's no getting around the fact that he didn't have the easiest path to success to start his NFL career. From a thumb injury that landed him on injured reserve as a rookie, to a change at offensive coordinator after his rookie season, to the way the COVID-19 pandemic limited his and every other players' ability to prepare for the 2020 and 2021 season, Lock has had to battle through challenges that have kept him from being at his best.
"Anyone that deals in the football realm as a quarterback, you know there's a lot of stuff that goes on around you," Lock said. "Let me start with this too, though. I will never make excuses for my play. I could have played a lot better in the seasons that I was playing there. I did some good things, but there's a lot of things I could have done a lot better. With everything that happened, with COVID, not being able to practice, a new offensive coordinator, firing the first offensive coordinator after my first year, there's just a lot that went into those three years. And again, I could have played a lot better. I'll own up to that. As far as what I feel like I can do different. I'm just going to have the mindset of competing the whole time I'm here. I'm going to come in, I'm going to work hard, I'm going to work harder than anybody else in this building and I'm going to show it to these guys, to try to gain their trust. Show them that I'm here to work and you know, if you put a little faith in me, I have a very talented skill set that'll help us win football games."
As Lock said, he's coming to Seattle to compete knowing full well that nothing will be given to him. For now at least, his only competition on the roster is Jacob Eason, though Carroll has said on a couple of occasions that the hope is to re-sign Geno Smith, and the Seahawks will likely continue to look for ways to add to that position group.
"Nothing has been promised, as I would want," he said. "I'd want them to come in here and tell me I need to earn it. Tell me I need to come in and work, tell me I need to come in and compete. I need to play well. There's a lot of things that I need to do to show this organization that I should be the one taking those snaps. But right now, nothing is promised. It's just my job to come in and work extremely hard and compete for that starting job."
One thing Lock thinks will help him succeed in Seattle is the offense run by offensive coordinator Shane Waldron. During Lock's rookie season, Denver's offense was led by Rich Scangarello, who like Waldron and his former boss, Sean McVay, has deep ties to the Mike Shanahan version of the West Coast offense. And after taking over the starting job late in his rookie season, Lock played the best football of his so-far brief NFL career under Scangarello, helping the Broncos win four of their final five games while throwing seven touchdowns with three interceptions.
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"It's similar to the one I ran my rookie year when I first got in the league," he said of Seattle's offense. "I got to play at the end of that year, and we played really good football. We won four of the five games, and I played efficient football, took care of the ball, scored in the red zone, hit the deep shots when they were there. And I just think that collectively as a group, when we start talking and getting into the details of the offense—what might be good for me, what do they want to have for sure—I think we'll put it all together and end up being able to put a good offense together that makes my skillset shine. I can throw the deep ball, I can move around in the pocket, I can play-action. Whatever you might need me to do, I'll be able to do it, and I think we'll put a good plan together to maximize my skillset."
And for Lock, a new team isn't the only fresh start this season. In high school, college and with the Broncos, Lock wore No. 3, but coming to Seattle he recognizes that that number, which was worn by Wilson for the past decade, deserves to stay Wilson's. So instead, Lock will wear No. 2 hoping a new number, like a new team, will serve him well moving forward.
"As long as football goes on, Russell Wilson will be very special to this place, very special to Seattle," he said. "And I know what it takes to, kind of build a legacy. You wouldn't go wear 18 in Indianapolis, you wouldn't go wear 12 in Green Bay. It's a sign of respect for him from me, but also at the same time, I want to write my own story here. I want to see what 2 does for us. I want to make that me. I don't want to fight against Russell, he's done so many great things for this place and so many great things for the city of Seattle and the state of Washington. I want 2 to remember it as Drew Lock, not 3 was Russell and Drew. I want 2 to be Drew, and that's just kind of been my mindset on it. I have the utmost respect for him and that was a move in showing that."
Seahawks players and staff filled out brackets for the 2022 Bracket Challenge. Check out photos of their picks.