NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The silence was deafening as Drew Lock made his way to the J.W. Marriott on Thursday.
Here he was, widely expected to be a first-round pick in the 2019 NFL draft by everyone. The Missouri star quarterback was even invited to the event in Nashville for that very reason. Yet, the first night of the draft had come to a close and he was still waiting on his NFL future.
Lock’s father, Andy, eyed Drew on the journey back to their hotel room. Like any good father, he was keenly aware of his son’s body language over the years. To Andy, the silence reflected only one thing:
“He was pretty upset,” Andy told Yahoo Sports. “And I know him so well, I didn’t want to say anything to him because I didn’t want to stir the pot. It was clear as day how he felt.”
Throughout the draft process, Lock was linked to many teams in the first round, including the New York Giants, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers. During the pre-draft process, there was no scenario in which he envisioned hearing 32 names called before his own.
All that ruminated in his head as he plopped on his bed, surrounded by friends and family. He thought about how he’d respond to the disrespect of the day’s events, and how excited he was to join his new team and prove everyone wrong.
“It was a rough day,” Drew later admitted.
Then came Friday, the second and third rounds of the draft. Drew knew he’d be taken somewhere, and he hoped it would be early. The first round had shaken whatever certainty he had, however, and as other players went one-by-one ahead of him at the start of the second round, Drew began to wonder how far he might drop as he and his family watched the draft on a television in his agent’s suite.
“I was waiting the whole time, when the clock was running, for [my name] to pop up and it never did,” Drew said. ”The emotions run out of you ... I was pretty low at that point.”
At around the 41st overall pick, Lock was getting ready to walk away from the television. But after the Broncos, one of the teams he’d wanted to go to all along, drafted right tackle Dalton Risner, Denver traded up with Cincinnati to snap up Lock — the top quarterback on their board — and end his arduous wait.
“Miami was in front of us, and I’d heard some other teams — we didn’t know if he was going to get by the Raiders,” Broncos general manager John Elway said. “There’s a lot scuttlebutt out there ... when he kept falling, we just kept an eye on it.”
The Lock family couldn’t have been more thrilled about his landing spot. For all his considerable gifts — ranging from his rifle right arm to his innate creativity on the field — they were always hoping for a Patrick Mahomes-type redshirt year, where he’ll get to watch how an established veteran starter leads men while he works out his mechanics, accuracy and command of the playbook.
The Broncos, who acquired Joe Flacco to be their starter this offseason, like the sound of that, too.
“I’m hoping that it allows us to let him grow,” Elway said. “The expectation is not as high as it would be with a top-10 pick. That’s what he needs. He’s going to need that time and the patience and continue to work with it.”
While he’ll have time to develop, Lock is already excited about his future in Denver, where the Lee’s Summit, Missouri native will get to face his hometown team — the Kansas City Chiefs — twice a year.
“I grew up a Kansas City kid, went to Columbia, to play for the University of Missouri and now … I’ve gotta go to Denver and come back and beat the Chiefs one day.”
It’s a possibility that Lock’s future teammates seem excited about, too. After his selection by Denver, Lock got a call from a Denver area code on his way from the suite to the draft site. When he answered the phone, Andy could tell how happy and pumped he was with whoever it was he was talking to.
“I hear him go, ‘Yeah man, I’m so damn excited,” Andy recalled to Yahoo Sports with a laugh.
His son’s body language was, to be sure, a 180 from the night before, and with good reason. Turns out it was Broncos star defensive end Von Miller, who welcomed Drew to the squad.
“The sun came up today,” Lock gleefully said later. “And I’m a Denver Bronco.”
One with a lot to prove after a long draft day wait he’ll never forget.
”Oh, it added a lot [of motivation] for sure,” Lock said. “There’s a whole lot of chips on my shoulder — it’s more like a full Pringles bottle, now. I’m ready to get to work.”
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