By Charlie Campbell
Summary: Grier started out at Florida as a recruit by Will Muschamp and became a starter under Jim McElwain. Grier had some success for the Gators, completing 66 percent of his passes for 1,204 yards with 10 touchdowns and three interceptions before being suspended for the second half of the 2015 season after testing positive for steroids. That suspension led to McElwain pushing Grier out of Gainesville. Grier than landed at West Virginia.
After sitting out the 2016 season because of the transfer, Grier took over as the starting quarterback for the Mountineers in 2017. Not surprisingly, Grier lit up the weak Big XII defenses. The redshirt junior completed 64 percent of his passes for 3,490 yards with 34 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Late in the season, he suffered a finger injury against Texas that caused him to miss the final two games of the year, against Oklahoma and Utah. In 2018, Grier completed 67 percent of his passes for 3,864 yards with 37 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Multiple team sources who saw Grier in person noted he has just average arm strength and has a hard time driving the ball when he can’t set his feet. Some in the media are pushing Grier as a first-round pick, but that was dealt a devastating blow at the Senior Bowl, where Grier’s lack of arm was painfully obvious. He did interview well, but he looks more like a second-day pick with a backup quarterback’s skill set.
Grier has enough size to be a pocket-passing quarterback in the NFL. He displays some accurate passing and is adept at putting air underneath the ball to loft in his throws downfield. Grier shows nice anticipation and ball placement to lead his receivers for yards after the catch. Grier throws a very catchable ball and makes things easy for his receivers. Grier has composure and comfort in the pocket with the ability to be a rhythm thrower who fits a West Coast passing offense.
There are issues with Grier for the NFL aside from the arm strength. While he can buy some time with his feet, he is not a dynamic runner or athlete to help compensate for his arm being a weakness. The arm strength, however, is probably the biggest issue that makes Grier more of a backup. Here’s how one team’s scout summarized the arm strength concern with Grier:
“Grier has good backup talent. I’m not sold on his arm. Lot of throws die on him when he can’t set his feet, and the great NFL QBs have to play with a muddled pocket 75 percent of the time. Requires a level of twitch, core power, arm strength to get throws off with velocity from unstable platforms. Grier doesn’t have that type of arm.”
This season and at the Senior Bowl, team sources were not speaking a first-round buzz on Grier. By the sounds of it, they project him to Day 2 or the mid-rounds. I think Grier could be a quality backup quarterback in the NFL who has a good, and potentially long, career.
Player Comparison: Matt Moore. I think Grier could be a quality backup quarterback like Moore was in his NFL career. Moore (6-3, 219) and Grier are almost identical in size, and Moore had physical limitations that kept him from being a starter. It would not surprise me if Grier has a career similar to Moore.
NFL Matches: New York Giants, Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, Denver, Cincinnati, Miami, Washington, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles Chargers, New England
Obviously, free agency will have a big impact on the quarterback market because some teams will acquire veterans and won’t consider taking a signal-caller with a first-round pick. The first quarterback-needy team selecting in Round 1 is the New York Giants. They have an aging and declining Eli Manning, but passed on a potential franchise quarterback last year. If they do that again in the first round, they could consider Grier on Day 2.
The Jaguars could move on from the inept Blake Bortles and get a new franchise quarterback this offseason. They could sign a veteran in free agency and draft a quarterback like Grier on Day 2 or in the mid-rounds to serve as a backup.
Staying in the state of Florida, Tampa Bay could take Grier as a backup to Jameis Winston. If Winston isn’t re-signed, Grier could be an in-house replacement option for the Buccaneers.
Denver needs a quarterback of the future due to Case Keenum just being a stop-gap veteran. If the Broncos address a different need in Round 1, they could take a quarterback like Grier later.
Cincinnati could decide to move on or bring in competition for Andy Dalton with its new head coach. Ditto for Miami with Ryan Tannehill. Thus, Grier could be in play for the Bengals or the Dolphins on Day 2 or in the mid-rounds.
The Redskins could consider taking a quarterback in the early rounds because Alex Smith may miss the 2019 season due to his leg injury. Even if he comes back, he is aging and limited, so Washington could easily select a quarterback in the 2019 NFL Draft.
The Steelers, Chargers and Patriots are all teams that could consider a quarterback as their aging signal-callers have a limited number of years left.
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