FOXBORO -- When Will Grier was coming out of West Virginia, the Patriots' opinion on him was initially fairly tepid. They liked some of what they'd seen in West Virginia's simplified scheme, but the overall takeaway early in the pre-draft process was: "The Senior Bowl will be big for him."
He then proceeded to have what was considered a rough Senior Bowl.
The Patriots -- who were very much in the quarterback market in 2019 -- ended up drafting Damien Harris in the third round, allowing the Panthers to take Grier just a few picks later. In the fourth round, New England took Grier's Senior Bowl teammate, Jarrett Stidham, out of Auburn.
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But Grier has since earned his way back onto New England's radar and has been reportedly signed off the Bengals practice squad.
What is there to like about his game?
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He's a pocket passer like Mac Jones, so if he's ever pressed into action, the offense wouldn't have to change drastically. Grier was also viewed as a positive locker room influence as a collegian, and an intelligent individual. As a Mountaineer, he was confident and able to make layups consistently in West Virginia's system.
He doesn't have a cannon for an arm but he was a capable deep-ball thrower in college because of his touch. And while he struggled at times with decision-making this preseason with the Cowboys, it seems as though some of the hero-ball tendencies he exhibited at times as a younger player have been mitigated.
This summer, Grier completed 76.2 percent of his passes for 640 yards (7.6 yards per attempt), four touchdowns and two picks. Released by Dallas following their trade for Trey Lance, Grier was added to the Bengals practice squad.
Teams were left wondering if Grier could handle a pro system following his Senior Bowl experience back in 2019, but if he can thrive with all that's thrown at him in Foxboro, he has a chance to work his way up to being Jones' understudy.
While Zappe has the edge over Grier in terms of experience in the Patriots system, it's clear the team is looking for more from its No. 2.
The Patriots released Zappe at the end of training camp but were able to sign him to the practice squad after clearing waivers. The Patriots added Matt Corral but recently released him after he was placed on the reserve/left squad list.