As you’ve probably heard by now, the Carolina Panthers selected quarterback Will Grier with the No. 100 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
Regardless of how people have reacted to the decision, it’s been made and there’s nothing we can do to change it. Will Grier is the Panthers’ backup quarterback for the forseeable future, and if something were to happen to Cam Newton, he will be the team’s starter. You don’t have to like it, but at this point you may as well accept it. As our old friend Foxy used to say — it is what it is.
Since we’re going to be rooting for Grier for the next four years (at least) I reached out to Michael Miller from our sister site The Smoking Musket for a brief Q&A session. Below are his answers to my four questions.
1. What are Grier’s strengths and weaknesses, and how do you think he could help the Panthers’ offense in 2019?
Will’s biggest weakness is something that can be coached out and improved on as his career continues — his footwork. When Will is under pressure, his footwork gets sloppy and causes him to throw off balance. Fortunately for Will, his strengths allow his weakness to not be his undoing.
Grier has impeccable accuracy on his ball placement. Time and time again, West Virginia fans witnessed Grier drop a pass through a narrow window and into the arms of his receivers. According to Pro Football Focus, Grier graded out as the best in the country on catchable passes over 20-yards, and only second to Baker Mayfield over a two-year span.
Check out Will’s game winning touchdown to new Seattle Seahawks receiver Gary Jennings Jr. against Texas last season for a perfect example of this. Grier is able to compensate for his footwork inefficiencies by being an athletic, instinctive playmaker.
As for how Will can help the Panthers offense in 2019, it really just depends on if Cam is healthy. If Newton’s shoulder isn’t 100 percent by September and Grier is thrown into the starting role to begin the season, he may have a couple games where he doesn’t perform at his full potential while he gets used to the speed of an NFL game. I hate to draw the comparison, but Will definitely has a Baker Mayfield quality to him. We saw Baker struggle at times through his first three starts for the Cleveland Browns last year before turning things up and becoming a Rookie of the Year candidate. I’m not saying Will is going to come out and win the job from Cam straight up, but the Panthers are in good hands if Newton can’t go.
2. The Panthers drafted him in the third round. Do you think they got a good value there, or did they overdraft him?
I think they got excellent value for Grier with the No. 100 overall pick. I’m not exactly sure why Grier slid to the third round, but I believe he would’ve been a solid late first round - early second round pick. He’s definitely better than Daniel Jones, who was taken 94 picks ahead of Grier, but I won’t get started on that.
3. Which parts of his game do you think will best translate to the NFL? Which parts will he need to work on the most?
Grier’s vertical passing game will translate perfectly to the NFL, but he needs to get more consistent with his footwork — especially when under pressure — to reach his maximum potential in the league. I also believe his pocket awareness, scramble ability and athleticism will surprise people who haven’t watched him and only looked at the combine numbers. If he can fix the footwork, he can at least be a league average starter within two seasons.
4. Do you see him as a potential starter in the NFL or more as a career backup? Why?
I do see Grier becoming an NFL starter, although it may not happen for a year or so. I think Will landed in a perfect situation in Carolina, where he can sit behind Cam Newton and learn the offense. Newton only has two years left on his contract before becoming a free agent, and I think by then Grier will absolutely be ready to take over. If the Panthers choose to extend Cam’s contract, they’ll have an excellent quarterback to shop around for trades.
There you have it, Panthers fans. Does this help ease your mind a bit? Why or why not? Share your thoughts with us!