You can understand why Drew Lock is flying under the radar entering the 2020 season. Lock, after all, shares a division with Patrick Mahomes, the first player to win both league and Super Bowl MVP honors before his 25th birthday. The AFC West also includes Derek Carr, a three-time Pro Bowler, and rookie Justin Herbert, who will likely open the season backing up Tyrod Taylor in Los Angeles.
While he may not be receiving the same attention as some of his peers, Lock has been one of the main talking points during the early portions of Broncos' training camp. Lock, a 2019 second-round pick who spent the first 11 games of his rookie season on the bench, led Denver to a 4-1 record during his five games as a starter. Lock, by all accounts, has enjoyed a strong start to his first training camp as the Broncos' starter, as he continues to find the balance between taking care of the ball while also taking calculated risks down the field.
"I'm going to take the shots when they're there, and put (the ball) in some windows if need be," Lock said earlier this week, via Kyle Newman of the Denver Post. "But I'm also understanding that taking care of the ball is the No. 1 thing for us."
Lock, who is entering his first season with new Broncos offensive coordinator (and former Giants coach) Pat Shurmur, averaged just 6.5 yards per pass attempt last season. With Denver's defense coming on strong near the end of the season, Lock's focus was largely on taking care of the ball and not putting his defense in bad spots. And while taking care of the ball will continue to be a priority, Lock, based on his recent comments, will be looking for more opportunities to make plays downfield this season.
Denver has also put Lock in a position to have more success this season. During the draft, the Broncos spent their first two picks on receivers Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler. They also selected Missouri tight end Albert Okwuegbunam in the fourth round and receiver Tyrie Cleveland in the seventh round. In free agency, the Broncos signed former Pro Bowl running back Melvin Gordon, who will look to complement Phillip Lindsay (a 1,000-yard rusher during his first two seasons in Denver) in the backfield. Gordon, who spent four years playing alongside Philip Rivers, is already impressed by what he's seen from his quarterback.
"He wants to be great," Gordon said of Lock, via the Broncos' team website. "He wants to learn. He's hard on himself … He wants to be a perfectionist. He's a competitive person. I like that. I like that in a quarterback."
While he continues to develop a rapport with his new teammates, Lock has also continued to strengthen his connection with Courtland Sutton, who earned Pro Bowl honors after leading the Broncos with 1,112 receiving yards last season. And while he is leery of playing too big of expectations on the Broncos' first-round pick, Lock likes what he's seen so far from Jeudy, who won the Biletnikoff Award during his time at Alabama.
"We'll just say Jerry's pretty good — we'll put it that way," Lock said. "I'm not going to put anything out there and establish (unfair) expectations for that man to hold up… The best thing I've seen out of Jerry is how hard he comes and practices every day, and how on top (of the offense) he is."