The Big Blue-Print: West Virginia’s Will Grier
The New York Giants are back from a bye week. Players have been added (offensive guard Jamon Brown), subtracted (Eli Apple, Damon Harrison), and made the headlines (Kyle Lauletta). Now, they set their focus on the San Francisco 49ers, with the hopes of turning their season around on Monday night.
However, it seems highly doubtful the Giants will be able to pull out an eight game winning streak, despite Odell Beckham Jr.’s claims on Friday. The focus is pretty obvious on preparing for the rebuild and concentrating on the NFL Draft.
In this edition, I look at a quarterback that made plenty of headlines this past weekend against the Texas Longhorns. That person is Will Grier of the West Virginia Mountaineers.
Who is Will Grier?
Will Grier is 6-3, 231 pounds. He was recruited out of Davidson, North Carolina, where he was the ranked the No. 2 quarterback in the entire 2012 quarterback recruiting class. He was recruited by the Florida Gators by then-head coach Will Muschamp. Grier would start the first five games of his freshman season, but it would end there. The NCAA deemed him ineligible to play due to him taking an unapproved over-the-counter supplement in Oct. 2015.
Once he returned from suspension, head coach Jim McElwain told Grier that he should consider transferring, as he had no plans of utilizing him on his team. Ironically, Grier thought about joining South Carolina, where Muschamp was hired as the head coach. However, the move was blocked by another SEC team, as the conference is notorious for blocking athletes from transferring to a rival school.
Grier would ultimately decide to join West Virginia, and the rest as they say, is history. In his first season with the Mountaineers, Grier completed 64.4 percent of his passes for 3,490 yards, 34 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. While his junior year was impressive, what he’s done this season has been even more special. In eight games this year, Grier has thrown for 2,618 yards, 28 touchdowns, and seven picks. With three games remaining in the regular season, he is one of the favorites for the Heisman trophy, as well as being named a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which honors the top fourth-year quarterbacks of the season.
What the Game Film Shows
Let’s start off with his most recent performance against Texas. He took a nasty hit to start the game, and looked to be a serious leg injury. However, he returned, and kept West Virginia in the game. His passes were on the money, whether they were short, midfield, or deep. Nothing showed that more than his late touchdown pass to Gary Jennings Jr. The tear drop pass found it’s way past two defenders and into Jennings’ hands at the edge of the end zone. Then, Grier pulled off a gutsy scramble on a two-point conversion to give the Mountaineers the victory.
Grier does possess enough mobility to escape some dodgy situations. However, there are moments where his decision making is questionable. Instead of looking to throw the ball away, Grier opts to extend the play, and in turn, takes a sack, putting his team in bad field position. A prime example of that was Grier’s game against Iowa State, where he faced constant pressure and had no choice but to scramble. As a result, he lost 33 yards in total.
BIG BOY DEFENSE ALERT: The Iowa State defense is flying around and shutting Will Grier down.
— Barstool Big 12 (@BarstoolBig12) October 13, 2018
What Scouts Are Saying
Early on in the 2018 season, Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller compared Grier to that of recent first overall pick and fellow spread quarterback Baker Mayfield. Miller says Grier, has the same athleticism and accuracy that Mayfield showed in Oklahoma, in what he called a weak Big 12 conference. Not only that, but he mentions that scouts have called Grier “wait and see” prospect. Ironically, those were the ones who called Mayfield a “Day 3 pick.”
Former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah compares Grier to that of current Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton.
“His skill set reminds me a lot of Andy Dalton when he was coming out of TCU,” says Jeremiah. “Both guys are very athletic and creative with the ball in their hands. They don’t wow you with size, but they have every tool necessary to play at a winning level for their team. They can use their legs to get out of trouble and they can also win from the pocket with accurate, on-schedule throws.”
Grier’s accuracy has been universally praised by draft experts. However, the main point of criticism is his arm strength. He hasn’t wowed scouts with his deep-arm ability and says the ball doesn’t travel well at all once he throws off-balance.
Not only that, but his consistency has been an issue throughout his college career. He can throw for three touchdowns in one game to throwing three interceptions in another.
There are some character concerns surrounding Grier, stemming from his steroid suspension. However, scouts say he has been more grounded ever since getting married and becoming a father of a two-year-old daughter.
As of this writing, Grier is projected as a mid-first round pick to a second round talent, but as everyone knows, that can all change after the scouting combine.
Grier to the Giants?
There’s a lot to like about Will Grier, especially considering his strong two seasons at West Virginia. He’s had talent at the receiver position, and if the Giants were to draft him, would have Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, and Evan Engram at his disposal.
Grier will certainly impress the Giants with his accuracy, which is something head coach Pat Shurmur would take advantage of, especially with short and midfield throws.
The main issue with Grier will be performing behind an inefficient offensive line. We saw a glimpse of that against Iowa State, and the Giants issues at the line of scrimmage is not an easy fix, and will take a while. If he were to play behind this offensive line, he would have to throw the ball off balance, which he has shown to struggle with.
While Grier is an intriguing quarterback prospect, his best fit will be with a team with an effective offensive line that can provide him the protection he needs to succeed. Unless the Giants can provide that for him, don’t expect Grier to end up in New York.
Important Matchups for Grier: Sat. 11/10 vs. Texas Christian University, 11/17 at Oklahoma State, 11/23 vs. Oklahoma.
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