Drew Lock working way back from injury, but will he play in 2019?

Drew Lock, Denver Broncos. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Drew Lock, Denver Broncos. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) /

Drew Lock’s rookie season with the Denver Broncos hasn’t gone according to plan, but what are the odds the former Missouri Tiger plays in the NFL in 2019?

Drew Lock was a sensational signal-caller collegiately for the Missouri Tigers. He was seen as one of the best pro quarterback prospects in the 2019 NFL Draft, going to the Denver Broncos in the second round. But his rookie year with Denver has been anything but smooth sailing.

In Week 3 of the preseason, Lock suffered a thumb injury that placed the rookie Denver quarterback on injured reserve with a designation to return. He will be Joe Flacco‘s backup in Denver this season, but what are the chances he ends up playing this year if he does return?

Lock was eligible to return to practice Monday, but won’t be able to return to the Broncos’ active roster until their Week 9 game against the Cleveland Browns on Nov. 3. Denver will have three weeks to assess Lock’s injury progress before deciding if he will be coming off the injured reserve for good.

After a dreadful 0-4 start, the Broncos have won their last two ball games over the division-rival Los Angeles Chargers in Week 5 in Carson, California, before shutting out the Tennessee Titans at home in Week 6. Denver may not be a playoff team, but the Broncos aren’t in any real hurry to rush Lock back on to the field, especially with Flacco having a clean bill of health.

That being said, if Lock can come back from his thumb injury, we should expect him to get some playing time with the Broncos at some point in the second half of the season. The November slate may be too early to force him back out there, but Denver might already be out of playoff contention. If that’s the case, the Broncos need to see what they have in Lock.

The reason for this is that the Broncos still haven’t officially filled their starting quarterback void after Peyton Manning retired after Super Bowl 50 in 2015. Broncos general manager John Elway was very fond of Lock coming out of Mizzou.

Lock is a great athlete with a strong arm and decent mobility. While he is slight of frame and can play a little sloppy at times, Denver needs to see what it has in its rookie quarterback before even thinking about taking another signal-caller in the 2020 NFL Draft. The Broncos might be picking high enough to land a Jacob Eason or maybe even a Justin Herbert, but they need to vet Lock first.

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Unless Flacco orchestrates a 10-game winning streak under center, it is in the best interest of Denver to play Lock at some point just to see what he’s got. He had the first-round potential for a reason. If he can play up to Elway’s high opinion of him, Lock could bring an end to the Denver quarterbacking chaos once and for all.