The 2018 NFL Draft concluded this past weekend, meaning It is full speed ahead for the 2018 college football season. The Missouri Tigers have big aspirations for the 2018 season, mainly due to senior quarterback Drew Lock. Lock could have two big future accomplishments riding on his final season at Mizzou. One, is competing for the Heisman Trophy. Lock led the entire nation in passing touchdowns last season with 43, two more than Heisman winner Baker Mayfield. Lock also threw for 3,695 yards last season as well, good for 11th in the nation. Only two of the 10 quarterbacks that finished ahead of him in passing yards will be returning for the 2018 season (zero QB’s in Power 5 conferences). Lock, the Lee’s Summit native, could be in store for a record season, but winning the Heisman is easier said than done.
The other thing riding on his season is the potential of being a 1st round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. ESPN’s Mel Kiper currently has Lock rated as the top QB prospect in the country for next year’s draft. He is also the only quarterback on Kiper’s top ten big board of players for the 2019 draft. Rankings and projections could and probably will change as time goes on and as the season gets under way, but Lock is already nationally noted, and controls his own destiny in a sense.
Mizzou used to be one of the top colleges in the nation for producing pro quarterbacks. At one point, they had each of their last three starting quarterbacks all in the NFL at the same time. That would be Brad Smith (MU 02-05), Chase Daniel (MU 05-08), and Blaine Gabbert (MU 08-10). Smith last played in the league in 2014, and Daniel and Gabbert are still in the league serving as backups. Daniel has played for five different teams, and even won a Super Bowl as a backup with the New Orleans Saints in 2010. Gabbert has played for four teams and was even a former 10th overall pick. He is currently a backup with the Tennessee Titans. Mizzou has not produced an NFL quarterback since Gabbert.
A Mizzou player has also never won the Heisman Trophy. They have had two finalists in the school’s history. QB Paul Christman finished 4th in the voting way back in 1939, when Iowa QB Nile Kinnick won the honor. Chase Daniel also finished 4th in voting in 2007, when critically acclaimed QB Tim Tebow won the trophy. Lock will have big shoes to fill if he wants to be Mizzou’s first Heisman winner along with reinstating the school’s legacy of producing NFL quarterbacks.
While filling just one of those accomplishments would be incredibly difficult, Lock is the man who can handle it. Lock fits the typical NFL QB mold, as he is 6’4” 225 lbs., an ideal size for an NFL quarterback. Lock has improved each season and is looking to put it all together in 2018. Like aforementioned, Lock is the nation’s raining TD pass leader. He also has a strong supporting cast back with him. Mizzou is returning three of their top four leaders in receiving yards last season. Among those three is sophomore tight end Albert Okwuegbunam, who led the Tigers with 11 receiving touchdowns last season. All five of Mizzou’s starting offensive lineman from last season will also be returning, a key factor for the Tigers offense.
So, while it is a tall order to win the Heisman and/or become a first round draft pick, Drew Lock’s situation sure puts him at the best chances to do so of anyone else in the country. His current Heisman odds are 25/1 according to Vegas but expect that to increase before the season starts or just as it gets underway. We should be in store for a great Mizzou football season come this fall, and #3 is going to be at the helm in what could be a historical season. The fun begins September 1st.