Will Grier: New England Patriots 2019 NFL Draft Targets

Will Grier

Despite all evidence to the contrary, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will not play forever. Brady is still one of the best quarterbacks in the league, but the Patriots need to start looking at potential heirs to Brady’s throne. New England doesn’t have a young, high-ceiling quarterback on the roster, but that could change in the 2019 NFL Draft. The Patriots will probably invest in a promising quarterback, and West Virginia’s Will Grier would be a perfect fit for New England’s offense.

Jeffery Simmons: New England Patriots 2019 NFL Draft Targets

New England Patriots 2019 NFL Draft Targets: Will Grier

Will Grier started his collegiate career at Florida before transferring to West Virginia after one season. After missing the 2016 season due to transfer rules, Grier took over the starting job for the next two seasons. During his time with the Mountaineers, Grier completed 65.7% of his passes for 7,354 yards, 71 touchdowns, and 21 interceptions. Grier ended his college tenure on a high note, completing 67% of his passes for 3,864 yards, 37 touchdowns, and eight interceptions.

The best part of Grier’s game is his accuracy. The West Virginia quarterback never completed fewer than 64% of his passes in any given season. His ability to throw guys open is unmatched in this draft class, particularly in the short portions of the field.

Additionally, Grier is one of the more intelligent quarterbacks in the draft. He isn’t the most athletically-gifted passer but masks his shortcomings with smart pre-snap reads. He knows where he wants to go with the football before the ball is snapped, and that skill should translate to the NFL. Adding to the appeal is that Grier was reportedly a great leader in college, and the Patriots love drafting those high-character guys.

Weaknesses

There’s a lot to like about Grier, but there’s a reason he’s not mentioned in the same breath as Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins. The biggest issue with Grier is his lack of arm strength. Grier struggles when going deep, as he loses a lot of his accuracy when pushing the ball downfield. Additionally, his lack of velocity allows safeties to make plays and close gaps over the top.

Grier is good in the pocket but struggles when forced to throw on the run. While he’s still capable of making throws on the move, he loses a bit of zip on his passes. With arm strength already an issue, this added lack of velocity could compound into a serious problem.

Lastly, Grier is slightly undersized for the quarterback position. While players like Russell Wilson have all-but put the quarterback height myth to bed, some general managers across the league still believe quarterbacks need to be tall and big in order to succeed. This spits in the face of recent evidence, but some teams may be put off by his relatively undersized frame.

Bottom Line

Will Grier is a smart, accurate quarterback with fantastic leadership skills. He’s not the best athlete and doesn’t have the strongest arm, but makes up for it by winning pre-snap and putting the ball exactly where he wants it. If that scouting report sounds familiar to you, it’s because Jimmy Garoppolo had the same report as a prospect.

Having a big arm is a bonus, but it’s not a required trait for succeeding in New England’s offense. The Patriots are beat teams by using the quick passing game to set up the deep throw. Running New England’s offense requires a high football IQ and a quick, accurate release. Grier has both of those traits and has time to develop before Brady calls it a career.

Will Grier would be a dramatic downgrade from Tom Brady, but there’s no helping that. Whoever eventually unseats Brady will not be nearly as good as the six-time Super Bowl champion. However, he has the skill set necessary to potentially develop into New England’s next franchise quarterback. Brady still has a few years in the tank, so Bill Belichick will have plenty of time to evaluate Grier and see if he can ever develop into a starting-caliber quarterback.

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