2015 NFL Draft Preview: QB Garrett Grayson
The Sports Quotient’s annual Draft Preview series returns! Over the course of the 10 weeks leading up to the 2015 NFL Draft, we will take a look at the top NFL prospects at each position. This ninth week, the focus is on quarterbacks. Our first QB prospect is Garrett Grayson out of Colorado State.
Grayson played at CSU for four years, starting every game in his junior and senior years. He would have been a full-time starter as a sophomore as well, but he broke his clavicle six games – and five starts – into the season. He totaled 35 starts in 37 games during his career as a Ram.
Grayson racked up 9,190 yards, 64 touchdowns and 27 interceptions on 61.8 percent passing. He threw for 8.3 yards per attempt and added four rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown in his four years. He was named Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year and first-team All-Mountain West in 2014.
Grayson is a pocket passer, and he has a strong arm – 60-plus yards in the air – when given room in the pocket to step up. His pocket presence is solid; he can move around to avoid defenders, though he does not often leaves the pocket to run with the ball. Grayson leads his receivers well, though he lacks velocity on intermediate and deep routes. He is fairly accurate, even on deep throws, and he shows above-average athleticism.
Take a look at this sideline pass from the Wyoming game this past season, arguably the best game of Grayson’s college career. He completed 18 of his 21 passes (85.7 percent) of for 390 yards (18.6 yards per attempt), five touchdowns and no turnovers.
The biggest red flags in Grayson’s game are his wind-up and delivery. He holds the ball further back than he should – leaving it more vulnerable to pass rushers – and his delivery is slower than most signal callers. He is also more familiar with throwing the ball in open field than down the sidelines, though he is capable of making such throws (see above GIF). His reads are slower than they should be, and he does not do a good job of looking off defenders, choosing instead to telegraph his passes. He also faces questions regarding his ability to perform well against top defenses, as the Mountain West is an offense-heavy conference.
Grayson is an intriguing prospect, and I see him as the third-best QB option in this year’s draft, though it is admittedly a shallow pool for passers. If he can quicken his delivery, work on sideline passes, and play behind a decent enough line, I believe he can eventually find success as an NFL starter. He is not yet ready to lead an offense, but with a couple years experience as a backup to an established passer, Grayson can be an above-average NFL QB. I see him as a value pick in the third round.
How about the Buffalo Bills? E.J. Manuel is running out of time to prove that he belongs in a Bills uniform, but he is the starter for now, and Grayson would not be pressured to step in and impress right away. In Rex Ryan’s run-first system, Grayson would not need to be the main focus, even if he did start earlier than expected. If he’s still on the board when Buffalo picks in the third, Ryan and Co. would at least take a look, right?
Another option would be the St. Louis Rams, who could very well be looking for a backup to the newly-acquired Nick Foles. Yes, Grayson could end up stuck as a perennial backup in St. Louis – or Los Angeles – but the Rams never seem to hold on to their starters for long. Having a solid backup will be key.