MINNEAPOLIS • Is Drew Lock the elusive quarterback of the future for the Broncos?
Von Miller has no doubt about it.
“I just want to be here when he gets famous,” Miller said of Lock, the utterly confident rookie quarterback who has returned to Broncos practice as he awaits his first regular-season snap in the NFL. “He’s going to kill it. He’s going to kill it. He’s got everything you need.”
Phew! Is it getting hot in here, or is it just Vonnie Football revving the hype machine?
“He’s just a star-in-the-making. You saw it with Tony Romo and Aaron Rodgers and all these guys. They just blow up. I see the same stuff with Drew. All he has to do is keep doing what he’s doing,” Miller went on.
Everyone should have a hype man like Von, whose optimism could make expired milk sound tasty. Alas, Lock won’t play here Sunday against the Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Brandon Allen’s the Broncos’ starter, Brett Rypien the backup. Truth is, Allen and his sweet story — from sixth-round pick to NFL starter — were the subject of this column before Von went and turned up the heat on Drew Lock’s arrival.
Who wouldn’t love Allen’s story? I’m straight-up rooting for the hard-working 27-year-old from Arkansas. Do you know how much money he can make by following up his first-career-start victory vs. the Browns with a road win over the Vikings, who are 10-point favorites on Sunday?
A lot more than you and me. It might not be in Denver, but look what happened for seventh-round draft pick Trevor Siemian after he ranked just 29th in quarterback rating as a surprise starter in Colorado.
Two million dollars with the New York Jets happened, and everyone likes a good longshot-makes-$2 million story.
And there’s just something refreshing about a guy having full control of his professional future. That’s Allen right now. Play well, win a few games, Allen can provide great value to the Broncos, or another franchise, as a long-term backup quarterback. Lord knows the Broncos could use a reliable one. They’ve been forced to start a backup quarterback in 13 of 21 seasons since John Elway’s second Super Bowl title as a player. Backups often matter.
“I don’t even think I was the big man on campus at Arkansas,” said Allen, who’s smart enough to recognize Sunday represents the biggest job audition of his young career.
But the Broncos story of import until proven otherwise is Lock. Vic Fangio tweaked his practice regimen to allow for eight to 10 snaps for Lock, who won’t be active on Sunday, out of the 38-ish daily snaps afforded the Broncos offense.
Fangio covets practice like he covets gray sweatpants, so it does appear the Broncos desire to see Lock as much as the next batch of QB-thirsty Coloradans.
Von? He’s seen enough.
“The other day (Lock) ran out and did like a little bootleg. He kind of threw it (like so),” Miller said. “It was an incomplete pass, but I’ve seen a lot of good ones play and that was probably the best incomplete pass I’ve seen thrown.”
In the spirit of fairness, it must be acknowledged the Broncos said the same things about Paxton Lynch. Here, I looked up what the “No Fly Zone” said about Lynch after his very first day on the practice fields at Dove Valley, way back in July 2016. Their iffy evaluations show even the pros paid to study quarterbacks can miss on a rookie.
“From watching him, he looked great to me,” Chris Harris Jr. told me then.
“Everything they said about him was on display,” Bradley Roby said.
“You can tell (Lynch) has a swag about him,” Darian Stewart said.
You win some, lose some, whiff some.
Perhaps the best sign for Lock came Thursday, when the 23-year-old cruised into the locker room poker game hosted by the veterans on defense. It’s been five years since the Broncos’ defense trusted the Broncos’ offense, and at times there’s been an invisible wall between the offensive and defensive players. Lock’s easy personality, at least, is able to bridge the gap.
But until he plays, who knows?
Von says he does.