As the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are looking through their 2021 roster and trying to “win now”, they must also prepare for the future. Currently sitting behind Tom Brady is, well, no one. The Buccaneers need to have two backups for the season. Presuming Blaine Gabbert returns to hold the clipboard, the Buccaneers need to find a third quarterback to evaluate for the future.
Will Grier at the University of Florida
Starting his career in 2015, Grier was with the University of Florida. In his freshman year, he would fall behind the likes of Treon Harris and Jeff Driskel forcing him to be a redshirt freshman. During the 2015 season, he saw time in six games. Ultimately posting 1,202 yards, 10 touchdowns, and three interceptions. Additionally, he added two touchdowns rushing. That season Grier had a completion percentage of 65.5%.
The season would not end all that well, however, as he was suspended one year for performance-enhancing drugs.
Feeling left out by the staff, Grier transferred to West Virginia where he would sit out the 2016 season. Entering the 2017 season he had something to prove. With a chip on his shoulder, he went to work. In 2017, Grier was named the starter and went to work to the tune of 3,490 yards and 34 touchdowns to 12 interceptions. His completion percentage stayed north of 64%.
In the 2018 season, Grier put on one hell of a performance: 3,864 yards and 37 touchdowns. During that season he increased his completion percentage to 67% and reduced his interceptions to only eight.
Will Grier: Draft Profile Summary
A confident leader and locker room presence, Grier has been described as a leader and a player who can pull together a locker room. He has the tenacity and a competitive spirit, one that could be compared to Tom Brady’s.
Grier possesses a disciplined approach to football. In college he showed a good understanding of the defense, allowing him to make pre-snap reads and decisions. Coupled with his ability to make it through his progressions, he can identify coverage breakdowns easier. He’s a true pocket passer who stands in there and can feel the pressure. All this combines into an efficient and accurate passer. Importantly, and where it aligns with the Buccaneers, is his aggressive nature and attacking mentality, combined with his deep ball touch and accuracy.
With any bit of good there is the bad as well. His mechanics could use some work and he needs to learn when to throw the ball away. He needs to improve his ability to understand zone coverage and find the space to abuse it.
How Pro Football Focus Described Will Grier
“Grier’s game seems to be built for the modern-day NFL offenses running RPO’s and hard play action. More importantly, he gets rid of the ball quickly with 57.4 percent of his throws coming in less than 2.5 seconds. He posted a 70.2 percent completion percentage, a 123.5 passer rating, and a 23-to-4 touchdown-to-interception ratio on said throws.”
Current Situation on the Panthers
Drafted in 2019 100th overall in the third round, Grier remains on the Panthers roster. Drafted by the previous regime, the current staff seems to want to have “their guy”. Furthermore, it looks like they are in the running to trade for Deshaun Watson. Either way, the staff may be willing to deal with their third-string quarterback for mere peanuts.
Grier was a third-round pick that looks to be just eating cap space for the Panthers. Subsequently, they would be willing to alleviate the $800 plus thousand dollars this year and over one million in the next. Recouping something for him would be an added benefit. This could go either of two ways. The first and most plausible, Jason Licht and the Buccaneers offer a late-round, 6th or 7th, to acquire him. Second, on draft day, the Buccaneers can package something together if the Panthers are looking to trade up. In the end, this is a low-risk and possible high reward trade.
Assuming Brady extends and is on the roster for 2022 and 2023, Grier could learn behind Brady. They both possess similar traits of play and Grier has a competitive mindset. This allows for the Buccaneers to evaluate another quarterback for the future. After all this is a franchise that is looking to maintain a wining culture. Finding a quarterback inexpensively, without using a first-round pick, should be the game plan while in “win now” mode. After Brady’s eventual departure, the Buccaneers will need someone in the most important position on the team to continue to succeed.