MOBILE, Ala. — Missouri quarterback Drew Lock might want to send Georgia football a thank-you note, when one considers the circumstances of his NFL development.
Lock, who was 9-of-14 passing for 57 yards in the Senior Bowl game on Saturday, impressed Derek Dooley — one of the keys to his development into a first-round prospect — in a 2017 performance against the Bulldogs in Sanford Stadium.
“He was actually at our Georgia game (2017), his kid plays for the University of Georgia, and liked what he saw that game,” Lock said.
“On the phone he said, ‘Hey listen, I was at that Georgia game, you played your butt off, you obviously have a very live arm and everyone is going to be able to see that, but I wanted to look at you not just as you could be my quarterback if I come to Missouri, but more so I’m recruiting you to be a Dallas Cowboy, I want to watch you and see if there’s enough on film for us to pick you up as a quarterback.”
Dooley, of course, was an assistant coach with the Dallas Cowboys before taking the offensive coordinator position at Missouri following the 2017.
Lock recalled how Dooley convinced him to return to the Tigers for his senior season.
“He said if there’s one thing I’m going to be able to do for you, is going to be able to put things on film for you,” Lock said. “I’m going to allow you to have that film, go talk to these scouts, go talk to the people and be more confident going into rooms with what I’ve taught you, and with what you’ve got on film, and he couldn’t have been more right.
“I feel very confident talking to everybody. I can get up and draw plays, I can get up and talk about all our plays, how we blocked it, what our scheme was, what my progression was, and that was a big part of me coming back, so shout out to Coach Dooley on that one.”
Georgia coach Kirby Smart had his secondary more prepared for Lock this past season however, having sized him up as one of the best quarterbacks the Bulldogs have seen since he has been head coach.
“I hate comparing guys like that, [but] there’s arm strength [Matt] Stafford-like, [Jay] Cutler,” Smart said this season. “Those were guys I had to coach against who were elite arm talent. He’s a good athlete as well, one of the better quarterbacks we’ll face.
“He’s in a league of his own.
Lock wasn’t as effective against Georgia this season, the Bulldogs winning 43-29 and holding Lock without a touchdown pass for the first time in more than a year.
Lock believes the Tigers could have beaten the Bulldogs with a couple of breaks, but where his development was concerned, that Georgia game also served its purpose.
“That game was big piece for me to go back and reflect on, as far as the footwork goes,” Lock said. “I wasn’t fully invested in the fluidity, I was invested in offense, (but) I hadn’t change my ways as far as footwork goes.
“That was a big conversation we had … to kind of change that footwork and try to be more fluid in the pocket more smooth in the pocket,. That was a big game to go back and draw clips from and show that to myself and Coach Dooley.”
Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden, who oversaw the North team in Senior Bowl practices, said he was impressed with Lock this week.
“He’s exactly as advertised,” Gruden said in the Senior Bowl press conference. “I thought he had a touchdown pass dropped (in the Senior Bowl). He’s the real deal — he’s got a great future.”