Heading into the 2015 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills have made aggressive moves to improve the roster, acquiring play-makers such as Sammy Watkins, LeSean McCoy, Percy Harvin, and likely Charles Clay. However, while those are all talented players that undoubtedly upgrade the offense, the Bills’ quarterback position is still in flux. The selection of EJ Manuel with the No. 16 overall pick in the 2013 draft hasn’t worked out as planned, but while there’s still time for improvement, the quarterback position has to be a priority for the franchise in order to make the next step in the quest for a Super Bowl.
Deemed one of the worst quarterback classes in quite some time, the Bills, who are without a first-round pick, will need to find value in the middle rounds if they hope to acquire a passer this year. Odds are typically against mid-round quarterbacks making a real impact, but one player that could be an intriguing option in second-or-third round is Garrett Grayson of Colorado State.
Grayson, who stands 6’2” and weighs 215 pounds, started every game for the Rams over the past two seasons, completing 63.1-percent of his passes for 7,702 yards, 55 touchdowns and 18 interceptions and was named the Mountain West Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2014.
Grayson doesn’t have a Matthew Stafford-esque cannon for an arm, but he has the ability to deliver the ball effectively to each level of the field. A talented passer with touch, Grayson understands when to change the velocity on his passes given the nature of the play. He’s confident in his arm and has enough zip to fit the ball into tight windows.
Grayson has a bit of an elongated release and his mechanics will need to be cleaned up, but he does a good job of adjusting his arm slot when throwing with defenders in his face.
In the following clip, Grayson’s bad mechanics show up when he’s faced with interior pressure. He throws off his back foot, throwing a floating duck that luckily wasn’t intercepted.
Grayson’s footwork can get sloppy at times, but he’s tough in the face of pressure and will keep plays alive by shaking off defenders, maneuvering the pocket and getting off the throw. These attributes are clear in the following play. With Nevada bringing pressure up the middle on a stunt, Grayson is able to side-step, making the rusher miss. Keeping his eyes downfield, he’s able to find his receiver that’s open from the broken coverage, converting a huge first down.
He has the agility and mobility to be effective off play-action rollouts and bootlegs, while possessing the speed to pick up a chunk of yards when the play breaks down.
For the most part, Grayson is an accurate quarterback when working the short-to-intermediate portions of the field. He shows a good understanding of route concepts and will lead, or “throw his receivers open” to allow for yards-after-catch. This trait is evident in the following clip as Grayson looks off the safety before coming back across the field, firing a strike to his wide receiver running an inside post route. He fits the ball right between the cornerback and safety, putting his teammate in position to have an easy path into the endzone.
Grayson’s ability to lead his man is shown again against San Jose State. One of the biggest issues young quarterbacks have when transitioning from the college game to the pro game is understanding when a receiver is truly “open.” Grayson trusts his receiver to be in the right spot and sets him up to gain yards after the catch.
At times, he can get a bit too confident in his arm and stare down his target which leads to some poor decision making. Here, Grayson locks onto his man as soon as he receives the snap before forcing a pass into tight double coverage, despite his backside slot receiver being in position for a potential touchdown.
How He Fits The Bills
Garrett Grayson is by no means ready to start an NFL game, but he possesses translatable traits that make him an intriguing prospect. He’s got a good arm, solid accuracy, the ability to change velocity and throw with touch, while exhibiting confidence in the pocket. Coming from a pro-style offense at Colorado State, Grayson has an understanding of NFL route concepts and how to attack various coverages, which should make him attractive to QB-needy teams. With a couple of seasons to develop, it’s possible that Grayson could emerge as a serviceable starter in the NFL.
Grade: 4th Round
Projection: 2nd-3rd Round
Comparison” Kevin Kolb/ Brian Hoyer