FOXBORO — Evan Lazar & Alex Barth kick off a series of Potential Patriots as the NFL Draft approached. This week the Patriots Insiders break down the quarterback position as the Pats look to find a backup/replacement for Tom Brady.
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This is what Evan Lazar wrote about his favorite QB Target Will Grier in his positional previews earlier this month.
WILL GRIER, WEST VIRGINIA
Overall grade: 5.3, Round grade: third, NFL Potential: chance to be an NFL starter
The good: With quarterbacks, we often talk about an “it” factor that cannot be measured by statistics, and Grier has that with noted leadership skills and a clutch gene to rise to the occasion in the biggest moments. Over the years, we’ve seen Grier lead his team on multiple game-winning drives including a late victory over Texas last season. Along with moxie, Grier’s physical and mental tools offer an intriguing base. He’s accurate to all three levels but is especially pinpoint on deep throws such as fades and seams, and is a quick processor that makes pre-snap reads to pick on matchups and exploit safety rotations.
Here, Grier wants to work a fade route to his “X” receiver on the back side of the formation. However, he sees the safety in the middle of the field shaded towards the backside before the snap, so during his drop-back he looks to his right to move the safety to the opposite hash and then drops a 50-yard dime for a touchdown to the back side fade.
The West Virginia coaching staff spread the field giving Grier plenty of information before the snap, and he regularly took advantage.
The bad: My biggest concern with Grier is not arm strength, but rather an unsustainable marriage between his physical gifts and mentality. Grier thinks he’s a gunslinger, often forcing balls into tight windows that he cannot possibly hit, but he doesn’t have the elite arm strength to pull it off. To succeed at the next level, he needs to come to terms with who he is as a quarterback, if not, he’ll be a turnover machine, and the high-volume of sacks he takes when trying to make something out of nothing will continue to haunt him. Along with ball security and decision making, Grier’s footwork and throwing mechanics leave something to be desired. His feet are often all over the place, and he has a prolonged release that won’t match the timing of the Patriots’ offense.
Conclusion: Grier is the Patriots’ best bet to find an heir in this quarterback class. His alpha-dog mentality and confidence are what you want in a franchise quarterback. If he can learn to play within his limits and cleans up his footwork and throwing motion, he has a chance to be a starter.
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