A certain television personality had a recent hot take on the Denver Broncos. Nick Wright of Fox Sports One put out his predictions for the 2020 season and had the Broncos finishing 3-13. Drew Lock and the Denver Broncos won four out of their last five games last season and finished 7-9 overall. But Nick Wright’s prediction is going to prove to be wrong. The Broncos will win more than three games in 2020 and below is why Drew Lock is poised for a breakout season and possibly a playoff berth.
Drew Lock Poised for a Breakout 2020 Season
Expectations could not be any higher for the new franchise quarterback for the Denver Broncos. Lock is hands down one of the more polarizing players coming into this season mainly due to hype. Most say that the hype is overblown and the Broncos should actually consider signing Cam Newton. Lock is nowhere near the second coming of Peyton Manning in Denver but there is a justifiable reason for the hype.
The Broncos showed that they had all the confidence in the world in their young quarterback by the moves made this off-season. They solidified the interior of their offensive line by drafting Lloyd Cushenberry to replace Connor McGovern and signing Graham Glasgow in free agency. Combining those two additions with second-year standout Dalton Risner should keep the pocket clean and pressure out of Lock’s face.
Questions still remain at the left tackle position as Garett Bolles is going into his final contract year. Long the scapegoat for most Denver fans for his boneheaded play over the past three seasons, Bolles slightly improved once Drew Lock was put into the lineup, but only marginally. It’s no surprise the Broncos didn’t pick up his fifth-year option and if he doesn’t improve early in the 2020 season look for Denver to make a move.
The good on Garett Bolles?
In the last five weeks — with Drew Lock as the QB — he allowed one pressure every 46.8 pass-rush snaps, per PFF. That ranked 9th of the 87 OTs who played at least 50 snaps in Weeks 13-17.
— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) April 30, 2020
Hands down the biggest reason for Drew Lock’s inevitable rise to stardom is the embarrassment of riches at his disposal. A young developing quarterback needs talent around him in order to have early success and Lock has a lot of play makers at his disposal. Courtland Sutton returns as the team’s clear cut number one option at wide receiver. Last year was his first Pro Bowl appearance after totaling 1,112 yards and six touchdowns. Facing constant double teams last year when he was Denver’s only real threat definitely held him back.
This is where Denver’s two new shiny toys from the NFL draft come into the picture. With the 15th pick, the Broncos took wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, who many draft experts had as the number one player at his position. He’s an elite route runner who gets separation using his technique and then burns defenders with his speed. Jeudy has all of the skills to be a number one option and paring him with Sutton will eliminate most double team situations. Having two guys with number one talent will bode well for Lock.
Following the Jeudy selection the Denver Broncos dipped back into the wide receiver well and drafted KJ Hamler. Hamler was an absolute burner at Penn State and a threat to take it to the house anytime he got the ball. He will fit in perfectly in the slot role for the Broncos and he should get a decent amount of targets. Hamler could have an impact similar to former Bronco Eddie Royal but on a slightly lesser scale.
Also returning for the Broncos is record-setting rookie tight end Noah Fant who will be entering his second season in the NFL. After a slow and rough start, Fant showed why Denver took him in the first round as he led all rookie tight ends with 562 yards. He stands to benefit the most from the new system and wide receivers. Denver stands to run a lot of three-wide sets and that leaves Fant matched up with linebackers who can’t run a 4.5 forty like he can.
Last but certainly not least is the tandem of Pro Bowl running backs Denver has coming out of the backfield. Phillip Lindsay and Melvin Gordon might be the best one-two punch in the NFL right now. Lindsay is coming off back-to-back 1,000 yard rushing seasons after being undrafted coming out of college. Gordon was signed away from division rival Los Angeles Chargers to be the chain moving monster for Denver’s offense. As the better pass catching running back, Gordon is going to see a lot of third down situations where he has a nose for the first down line. Both players should be able to take a lot of pressure off of Drew Lock and help carry the heavy load of the offense.
Fewer throws for Drew Lock means fewer opportunities for him to throw interceptions or take unnecessary hits. During his short five game stint last year he threw for 1,020 yards and completed 64% of his throws. If you took that stretch and averaged it over a season he would have 3,264 yards and 22 touchdowns. So, with the huge improvements this team has added this off-season, Drew Lock reaching 4,000 passing yards and 28 touchdowns is a reasonable prediction. And those numbers could propel the Broncos back into the playoffs and even help the Broncos challenge the Kansas City Chiefs for the division title.