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Is Drew Lock the perfect backup to Matthew Stafford in 2022?

Strong arm? Check. Gun-slinger mentality? Check.

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NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos have a contention-ready roster aside from a glaring hole at the quarterback position, and the team figures to be one of a handful in a competition to secure a top passer off the market in 2022.

Will Aaron Rodgers be wearing blue and orange in Denver next season? What about DeShaun Watson or Russell Wilson? Either way, the Broncos are in need of an upgrade at quarterback and the young Drew Lock appears to be the odd man out.

The Broncos and John Elway drafted Lock in the second round of the 2019 NFL draft to be the future of the franchise, handing the former Mizzou Tiger the reigns in just his second year with nearly no competition in the way. Three years in, it’s clear that the relationship hasn’t worked - and probably will not work moving forward.

It’s unlikely that another team would acquire Lock with the intent of starting him in 2022; therefore, with a year left on his rookie contract, Lock should seek an environment that will prepare him for his next opportunity.

The Los Angeles Rams are the best fit - and Matthew Stafford would be the perfect mentor.

Sean McVay’s quarterback friendly offense would suit Lock well, and he could benefit from a steady reliance on the running game to open up shots down the field. Similar to but not quite on the same level as Stafford, Lock has immense arm talent and there’s really no throw on the field unavailable to him. The young signal caller struggles with decision making and reading defenses, though the veteran excels in these areas and could pass down some important insight.

A significant silver lining for Lock is that he’s shown incremental improvement each year during his college and professional careers. Below are the PFF grades for each of his four years at Missouri:

2015 - 43.7
2016 - 67.8
2017 - 81.8
2018 - 88.9

Lock has also shown year over year improvement at the NFL level, where his rookie season was graded at 58.1 by PFF and then improved to 63.5 in his second year. While Lock has only started two games so far in 2021, he did notch a 88.7 grade in Week 16 versus the Las Vegas Raiders. In the right situation Lock can limit turnover worthy plays and create big time throws - Week 16 is an example of his ceiling.

As much as the Rams may be capable of helping Lock turn his career around, the young quarterback could also help LA by improving over current backup John Wolford.

Wolford, signed by Los Angeles after a stint in the Alliance of American Football with the Arizona Hotshots, played admirably for the Rams in 2020 in replacement of injured quarterback Jared Goff. LA needed Wolford’s help to win in Week 17 versus the Arizona Cardinals and in order to make the playoffs, and the unheralded signal caller got the job done.

2021 has mostly been a different story for Wolford, though the Rams held him out of the preseason and he’s seen limited action during the regular season. While it is an extremely small sample size, Wolford threw an interception out of two attempts versus the New York Giants and then threw another turnover worthy pass against the Houston Texans out of another two passes. While Wolford has been serviceable for the Rams when thrown into meaningful action, he does not have the same pedigree and level of talent as Lock.

Lock and the Broncos host the Kansas City Chiefs to close out their regular season Saturday afternoon for what could be his final game in orange and blue.

Could the Rams benefit from Lock joining the team in 2022, or does LA have confidence in Wolford moving forward? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.