Grier’s NFL Draft Placement Remains Uncertain
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — There can be little doubt that the most intriguing player in the 2019 NFL Draft is Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray, the Heisman Trophy winner who turned down a future in baseball to pursue an NFL career.
His intrigue is built on the fact that he has physical assets perhaps more suited to baseball or wide receiver than quarterback, yet he has perhaps created a quarterback of the future template with his ability to throw on the money while on the move while also possessing the ability to break loose for a long scoring run.
But if he is the most intriguing player in the draft, a case can well be made that West Virginia quarterback Wil Grier is the second-most intriguing, for no one seems to know where to place him the draft, be it first or second round.
He, of course, at the NFL Combine tried to answer that by declaring with no uncertainty that “I feel I am the best quarterback in this draft” and certainly a case can be made for that.
After working out a few days later at WVU’s Pro Day, he was asked if he had seen anything to change his mind about that statement.
“Nothing is ever going to sway my attitude about that,” he answered. “I just believe that’s what it takes to be a successful quarterback … to be a successful anything. You have to believe in yourself first.”
And a case can be made for him.
Consider that in college he outperformed all those in this draft other than Murray and Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins and when you consider that in his junior year he was injured and missed the last two and three-quarter games and that in his senior year he sat out the bowl game to prepare for the draft, his stats might have matched theirs.
Even in defeat, Grier was a force to be reckoned with. In losing six college games in which he started and played all the way through at WVU, his Mountaineers averaged 33 points per game while he completed 63.2 percent of his passes for 329 yards per contest and 2.5 TDs per game.
Now consider this. Missouri’s Drew Lock, whom many place before Grier in the draft, over his entire final two years in college completed 60 percent of his passes — a lower percentage than Grier IN THE GAMES HE LOST — averaged 287 yards per game, a good bit below Grier’s average of 329 in the games he lost, and averaged 2.8 TDs per game, slightly better than Grier.
The point is that no one stands head and shoulders above Grier in a quarterback class that some say is among the weakest of the millennium.
The weakest, NFL.com judges, was the 2007 class which had two first-round picks with JaMarcus Russell the overall No. 1 selection and Brady Quinn taken at No 22.
Here’s something that Grier has to keep in mind whether he goes in the first or second round or somehow slips lower — it doesn’t matter where you are taken.
You make your own future and that has been proven over and over.
Consider it this way. In 2000, the first quarterback taken was Marshall’s Chad Pennington at No. 18 in the first round.
In the sixth round there were a pair of quarterbacks taken who proved to be pretty good bargains … a kid from WVU named Marc Bulger as the 168th pick and a kid from Michigan with 199th pick named Brady.
Yeah, that Brady, Tom, the one many call the greatest quarterback of all time.
How well does the NFL really judge talent?
Well, just players after Brady was selected another QB was taken, this one being JaJuan Seider.
These NFL scouts and GMs are hardly foolproof.
Look at this way, Green Bay Hall of Fame great Bart Starr was a 17th round pick, the 200th player selected, Baltimore’s Johnny Unitas was a ninth round pick at No. 102, both Warren Moon and Kurt Warner went undrafted.
Among those you might have thought would be first-round selections were Joe Montana, who went in the third round, Brett Favre, who went in the second, and Dan Fouts, who went in the third round.
So where does Grier go?
It’s generally agreed that Murray will go first to Arizona as new coach Kliff Kingsbury seems determined to try to push his Texas Tech offense on the NFL even though it barely won half its games on the college level.
And Ohio State’s Haskins will go next, perhaps to the New York Giants if they can trade up to get him a Eli Manning’s eventual replacement.
The best fit, however, is late in the first round with New England, for despite how it looks, Brady is not going to quarterback forever and Grier seems to be Tom Brady recreated two decades later.
He is smart, sees the field, is careful with the ball and a team leader … all of which covers up what some say is arm strength that is below average but that hasn’t ever hurt Grier along the way.
One could even imagine New England, if they got Grier, to find a way to work David Sills or Gary Jennings into its draft package and maybe even take a late shot at tight end Trevon Wesco as a potential replacement or Rob Gronkowski.