The childhood lessons that brought Drew Lock from gym class to the NFL’s doorstep

first_img (Getty/SN) This week, the Lock family will travel to Nashville, site of the 2019 NFL Draft. Lock thought about staying home for a small get-together in Lee’s Summit but, at the urging of former NFL quarterback and current quarterback guru Jordan Palmer, Lock will join the league’s festivities for this once-in-a-lifetime accomplishment.While his parents are obviously proud of what Lock has accomplished on the field, they’re just as proud of the man he’s become off the field. Before Drew Lock could conquer the most challenging position on the football field, he had to conquer a much smaller challenge.Scissors. “His character. He always tries to be a good person – always – and do the right thing,” Laura said. “I’m so proud of him for always doing the right thing. It shows. He’s an all-around good person. That’s what makes Drew special.“The last thing you want is your kid to make another kid feel bad because he’s better at what he does. From the very beginning with Drew, you’re not going to talk about it, you’re not going to raise your hand to the sky and be all big about what you do. You should be thankful for what you can do and then help everybody else around you.”That was something from when he was little, and that made him humble. We’ve made sure he was humble. We knocked him down when we needed to knock him down, just to let him know that’s not how we’re going to be. He’s carried that with him forever. But he also has a bit of cockiness, too, when he needs to have it. He handles both of those well — when to be humble and when to be a little bit cocky.” “When they’re 3 years old and they go to preschool for the first time and they have them do all of these different skills, and they’re like, ‘Well, he had a really hard time with scissors today,'” recalled his mom, Laura Lock. “For a mom who thinks their kid’s perfect, nobody tells her he can’t use scissors. It was like I failed as a mother.”At home, we’d take kitchen tongs and cotton balls and have him practice picking up cotton balls. Nobody tells me my kid’s not good at something, number one. I tried to figure out everything I could do to make sure that the scissors were going to be OK when it came to cutting and gluing.”SN’s NFL DRAFT HQ:Iyer’s mock draft | Top 100 big board | TV scheduleBefore Lock carved up the mighty SEC — his 12,193 career passing yards rank second in conference history — and developed into a likely first-round pick in this week’s NFL Draft, Lock had to get through kindergarten gym class.“I’ll never forget,” Laura added. “We went to his kindergarten PE and he got marked down because he didn’t know how to skip. He was very upset about it so he had to learn how to skip.”And before Lock will sign his name to a lucrative contract, he had to work on his penmanship. Well, that’s still a problem.“His letters were always sloppy and they’re still sloppy to this day,” Laura said with a laugh. “It’s not something that he worked hard to get better at because there were other bigger things that he could be doing that were more fun.”Those stories are funny because Lock’s been an athletic prodigy since an early age. Sports were what was fun. While he struggled doing some things as a little boy, others came naturally and provided a hint for what was to come.MORE NFL DRAFT:Best prospects by position in 2019 class“It’s fine motor vs. gross motor,” Laura explained. “He could run and jump. He was dunking on a Nerf hoop by the time he was 3 while listening to ‘Space Jam’ music. He would hit baseballs up in the air after we threw it to him when he was 2. It was crazy stuff like that that happened at a young age.”By the time Lock was in junior high school, his parents had a pretty good idea that Drew would play college football, basketball or even baseball. His talent was obvious to anyone.“Things just really come naturally,” Laura said. “Not to say that he didn’t work at it but they’re just a little easier for him than everybody else.”Whatever the sport, Lock threw himself into it at full throttle. Plus, academically, the boy who had learned to read before kindergarten had become a National Honor Society member with his 3.8 GPA.During his sophomore year at Lee’s Summit West (Mo.) High School, Lock received a football scholarship offer from Missouri. That’s the school where his father, Andy, played on the offensive line before earning an opportunity with the New York Giants after going undrafted in 1990. His grandfather, Jerry, also played on the Mizzou football team in the early 1960s. Lock stuck with Mizzou, even while scholarship offers poured in from across the country in football and even some in basketball. As a true freshman in 2015, Lock took over at quarterback and started the final eight games.“It was the first time my husband and I ever sat together for football games, so we had to get used to being close to each other,” Laura said. “In high school, he was down by the field and I was up in the stands with all my friends. Once he got used to me grabbing his leg and covering my eyes — that freshman year, he got popped around. It was holding your breath and praying, basically, that whole time. ‘He’s going to get up. He’s going to be fine.’ Literally after every game, it was, ‘Mom, I’m OK.’ I’m like, ’OK, I’m just checking.’”That first year was the school of hard knocks. And that’s not even considering his 2-6 record as the starter. Lock got bruised and battered on a weekly basis. It was a tough time for Lock, not to mention his parents.“There were a couple times where he was definitely seeing lights, for sure,” Laura said. “You’re sitting in the stands holding your breath and saying, ‘Get up, son. Get up.’ He did every time. Every time, that kid got up. He’s as tough as nails.”It’s a trait that came from his parents. Not only did Andy play football but Laura was a star high school basketball player. “Andy and I both have that quality of not wanting to show any sign of pain, and you sure don’t want anyone else to see it,” Laura said. “Andy used to always say, ‘Are you hurt or injured? If you’re hurt, get up, get back on the field and do your thing and we’ll deal with it later. If you’re injured, I’m going to have to call an ambulance.’”Lock’s talent and toughness were noted by his teammates. As a sophomore, he was voted a team captain — a post he’d hold for his final three seasons. After a strong sophomore season, Lock threw for 3,964 yards and a SEC-record 44 touchdowns as a junior. Physically, he was ready to go pro. Mentally, however, he didn’t believe he was ready.When coach Barry Odom picked Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Derek Dooley to be his offensive coordinator for the 2018 season, Lock’s decision to return to Missouri was clinched. Dooley would install an NFL-style scheme perfect for the next step in Lock’s career.“That was my big thing about coming back last year,” Lock said at the NFL’s scouting combine. “I didn’t necessarily feel like I could talk to teams like I want to. I know the game now 10 times more than I did last year. I was confident to come out and throw with the best of them. That wasn’t the part that I didn’t come out. I just needed to learn more about football. Learning that Coach Dooley was going to be the next OC at the University of Missouri, just having a couple of phone conversations with him, I knew it was the right decision to come back.”As a senior, Lock threw for 3,498 yards and 28 touchdowns. While the numbers were down a bit compared to his prolific 2017, he threw for a career-best 62.9 percent completion rate.MORE: Everything to know about the 2019 NFL Draft in Nashville“If you look at my sophomore and junior year, we threw it farther than anyone in the country, throwing it 50-plus yards,” Lock said at the combine. “I think if you really look at it, he’s throwing it farther, he’s throwing it 50-plus yards. It’s going to be kind of hard [to complete passes at a high rate] rather than a little bubble screen to a back or a drive route.”Honestly, over my career, if you look, I set the bar pretty low my freshman year with accuracy. But I got better every single year. And I had three different OCs. I had three different offenses to work in. A lot of guys had one OC, got comfortable in an offense. I had three. I had some learning curves even in games.”Among the quarterbacks Lock emulates is the Packers’ two-time MVP, Aaron Rodgers. As has always been the case, Lock is a tremendous athlete; he ran his 40-yard dash in 4.69 seconds at the scouting combine. At Mizzou, he made some big plays with his improvisational skills.“Obviously, I have a lot to prove and a lot to do to be even compared to this guy, but if there’s any way, I would model my game after Aaron Rodgers,” Lock said. “Just the stuff he does off-platform. I think if you watch my game, I throw a lot off weird platforms. My feet aren’t necessarily perfect all the time. I throw from weird arm angles. I get critiqued about it. He gets critiqued about it a little bit. That’s just our style of game. That’s what we do. That’s what we’re proud of.”It’s probably going to be hard to change. Unless someone really needs me to change it, then I will. But that’s just who I am as a quarterback, and that’s just who he is.”last_img

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