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2019 NFL Draft: 3 reasons Will Grier could be a first round pick

Will Grier

The 2019 NFL Draft is sure to offer its fair share of surprises in the first round. In a year where ”can’t miss” quarterbacks seem limited, and the talk continues to be centered on the potential of Kyler Murray, expect a sleeper to sneak into opening night.

Note that the sleeper could be quarterback Will Grier from West Virginia.

Grier finished up his career at West Virginia among the leaders in pass efficiency (175.5), TD passes (37), passing yards (3,864), and in completion percentage (67.0, on 266-397 passing). Grier also started in 11 games in 2018.

Is he first round potential?

The short answer is yes, especially if you agree with the eyeball test. In a season where the sizzle of Murray garners all the media attention, a player like Grier has more tangible upside. He’s something of a gunslinger with big locker room upside. Teams may look at what the Cleveland Browns did with Baker Mayfield and note a similar pattern.

The bottom line is not complicated. Murray is all about the ”what if”? Grier, on the other hand, is about what can happen now.

Especially with the right team.

1. Grier brings experience to any team on day 1

While Kyler Murray will likely go very early on opening night of the 2019 NFL Draft, quarterback Will Grier could be a player who slips into the Thursday night event. Teams shopping for a quarterback would be wise to take a long look at the former West Virginia signal caller.

For those who insist on taking mock drafts as the sole gospel, you’d think Grier is a weekend pick. Not so. The tape is too good and reflects what scouts saw at the Mountaineers pro day.

”He’s got a good demeanor, and the ball jumps off his hand. A lot of confidence, a little bit of gunslinger. Physically, he threw the ball well. … I thought it matched up [with the tape], and I think the tape was good.

At 6’-2” and weighing in at 217 pounds, Grier looks the part. He’s got a confidence that comes from a maturity you won’t find in Murray. Whether he’s thrust into opening day duty or sits behind a veteran in Los Angeles with the Chargers or a Hall of Famer with the New England Patriots, he’s a quarterback you can build around immediately.

2. A smart pick for a team with a veteran already in place

Team’s with aging veterans could do worse. Drafting a quarterback like Will Grier buys them time and a reasonable insurance policy. The New York Giants at 17 have an aging quarterback as do the Los Angeles Chargers at 28 and the New England Patriots with the last pick in the first round.

The Carolina Panthers have a quarterback who had injury issues in 2018 and the Washington Redskins don’t really have a starting quarterback to speak of.

Simply said, a reasonable argument can be made that Grier makes any of the above mentioned teams better on the opening night of the 2019 NFL Draft.

The longstanding hope of NFL teams was to draft a young QB and sit them, when possible, behind a veteran. While those days look to be long gone, it’s still a valuable option if it presents itself. In Nashville, site of this year’s draft, that scenario will show itself to a few teams, most notably the Patriots, Chargers, and Giants. While the need in New York is greater than LA and New England, those organizations could allow him to sit and watch, at least for a while.

Grier will do well either filling an immediate need or waiting in the wings while a veterans’ career winds down.

3. Built for an increasingly offensive-centric league

The National Football League is playing a different game these days. On offense, 2018 saw teams like the Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City Chiefs, and New Orleans Saints scorn points by the dozens. It’s less a blip and more trend as teams see defensive rules allow for quarterbacks to throw more as the passing game does through a significant growth spurt.

At West Virginia, as in most of the college game, Grier played in a wide-open attack not unlike previously seen in the often maligned ”Air Raid” offense. That alone begs the question of whether he’s a system type QB or able to adapt to something different.

Grier throws a nice ball, showing touch and accuracy. He’s solid against the rush, and equal in his pre and post snap reads.

His liabilities are few.

Grier won’t be the first, second or third pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. But the idea he will sit on a draft board come the weekend is absurd. He’s a smart choice who will equate to a steal if selected in the first round. Rumors already have him moving up in the minds of teams looking long and hard at the quarterback position.

Those rumors may very well prove to be true.