The Denver Broncos traded up in the NFL Draft to take Drew Lock last April.
The NFL season is coming to an end. The AFC and NFC conference championships are this weekend with the winners getting a shot at the Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl LIV. While awaiting the end, ESPN on Thursday released its list of the 30 most impactful trades in the NFL this year, and former Mizzou Tigers quarterback Drew Lock is one of the top 15.
Lock was drafted in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft after he slipped a little bit, expecting to be taken in the first round. Instead, he was the fourth quarterback taken, and one of the last players who remained in the green room in New York City.
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The Broncos made a couple trades ahead of the Lock deal that shaped their team in 2019. First, Denver traded a fourth-round pick to the Baltimore Ravens for Joe Flacco. That trade made sense as the Broncos had no better option at QB, and it gave them a bridge for a rookie quarterback to come in as the No. 2 with hopes to start later. That rookie QB was Lock.
During the draft, Denver traded back with the Pittsburgh Steelers, a move that many saw as an opportunity to take Lock as they weren’t ready to take him in the top 10. But the Broncos drafted tight end Noah Fant at No. 20, and the Lock drop continued. That swap of picks with the Steelers helped the Broncos make a move later in the draft that would impact the 100th season of the NFL.
Lock was taken with the No. 42 pick in a trade between the Broncos and the Cincinnati Bengals. It ended up as the No. 15 most impactful trade of the 2019 NFL season, according to ESPN’s Bill Barnwell.
"After trading down with the Steelers in a deal we’ll get to later, the Broncos moved up to draft a quarterback for the fourth time in five seasons. While Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch and Chad Kelly have all come and gone, Denver is excited about Drew Lock, who won four of his first five starts after taking over at the end of the season.Lock is tentatively penciled in as the starter for 2020, and while it’s still way too early to say anything with confidence about his future, even the possibility that the Broncos have solved their quarterback situation would represent a victory for Elway, the Broncos’ general manager."
This powerful trade last year also can set the stage for both NFL franchises moving forward. The Bengals didn’t take a signal caller until the fourth round last year, North Carolina State’s Ryan Finley, who came in at No. 19 on the list. He won’t be the face of their franchise, however.
As the article states, the trade that landed the Bengals Finley helped the team tank the season. With the No. 1 pick this year, the Bengals have a shot at taking LSU’s Joe Burrow. The Broncos didn’t want to wait until 2020, and instead of wasting the 2019 campaign for the likes of Burrow or another rookie quarterback, they made an investment in Lock. He had a strong season despite not playing until late in the year.
It may work out in the end for both teams, that remains to be seen. But as for the 2019 NFL season, Lock was an important factor in the way it played out. But not as important as another quarterback in the NFL, one who will be looking to upset Lock’s hometown team this weekend, Ryan Tannehill.