There’s one word to describe how former West Virginia quarterback Will Grier is feeling ahead of the 2019 NFL Draft: confident.
“I feel I am the best quarterback in this draft,” Grier said at the NFL Combine.
“I would have felt that way if I came out last year. I am very confident in my abilities. It’s not just about my tape, which I think is really good and the best tape there is, but it’s also everything else that goes into playing quarterback that I take pride in.”
Those qualities include Grier’s leadership on and off the field. Since arriving at West Virginia, Grier made it a priority to create a personal relationship with every player. In doing so, he earned their respect.
That respect led to trust, especially in the big moments.
Perhaps the biggest moment of his collegiate career came during last season’s contest vs. Texas in Austin.
With 16 seconds left, Grier threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to Gary Jennings in the back of the end zone, putting the Mountaineers down by one point. Head coach Dana Holgorsen opted for the two-point conversion, which his team had to convert twice.
The final time, it was Grier running across the goal line untouched to seal the 42-41 victory over the then-No. 15 Longhorns.
“That was such a cool college football environment and I want the ball in my hands in those kind of situations,” said Grier. “I don’t get nervous. I don’t feel pressure. Those are the times I’ve prepared for my whole life.”
Grier said the confidence and leadership he exuded in those high-pressure situations is something that will translate at the professional level.
In his final game as a Mountaineer, Grier impressed despite the outcome. He completed 32-of-49 attempts for 539 yards and four touchdowns in the 59-56 loss to Oklahoma.
He converted 516 of his 785 passing attempts for 7,354 yards and 71 touchdowns in his two years behind center at WVU.
Heisman winner Kyler Murray, Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins, and Missouri’s Drew Lock are the quarterbacks gaining the most attention ahead of this year’s draft. However, some college football experts believe Grier will be among those top selections.
“If you read a lot of the pundits, you’d expect that Will Grier is maybe going to be available in the second round or later. If you talk to the people within the National Football League, you would know that they are much higher on Will Grier than those writing about the draft,” Fox Sports analyst Joel Klatt said, noting Grier’s performances against Texas and Oklahoma.
During his two years at West Virginia, the Heisman Trophy candidate left his mark on the program. Now he is ready to prove he can have the same impact at the professional level regardless of where he lands this weekend.
“I want to be the greatest that’s ever played, so it’s going to take a lot of hours, reps and work,” said Grier. “I have the opportunity to go play in the league and make this my job now. I’m going to eat it up and take advantage of this opportunity.”
The 2019 NFL Draft begins on Thursday in Nashville. Make sure to stick with www.wvillustrated.com for updates on where Grier and the rest of the former Mountaineers will be continuing their careers.