With Dak Prescott and Cooper Rush returning in 2023, the Cowboys’ quarterback position isn’t ripe with opportunity. But while most are focused on some Day 3 draft pick coming in to fill the depth chart, what about veteran Will Grier? Does this former third-round pick still have a role to play in Dallas?
Grier joined the Cowboys in 2021, claimed off waivers when he didn’t make it through final cuts with the Panthers. He was the 100th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft by Carolina, expected to back up Cam Newton and perhaps one day take the reins. But with a new coaching staff arriving in 2020, and Grier not doing much with his limited playing time as a rookie, he quickly fell out of favor with the organization.
With Grier only joining Dallas after the preseason, he remained a mysterious figure on the roster throughout 2021. He hadn’t really been able to compete with Cooper Rush for the backup role, which made for an intriguing storyline during the 2022 preseason. While Grier did flash some playmaking potential last August, the team ultimately stuck with Rush.
That choice can’t be argued against after Rush’s 4-1 run as the starter last year. His familiarity with the team and veteran poise came through. Now, instead of wondering if Grier might supplant Rush, most are waiting for the next guy to come along and knock Grier off the roster.
Granted, Grier is now a 28-year old entering his fifth NFL season. He hasn’t taken a snap since 2019 and it’s easy to dismiss him as any kind of prospect or asset going forward. But with some of the changes taking place in Dallas, could his position actually be improving?
Remember, Kellen Moore is gone and so is some of the offense that Cooper Rush knows so well. Rush and Moore were teammates in 2017 and then Rush was in the QB room for nearly all of Moore’s run as offensive coordinator.
Mike McCarthy’s increasing offensive role is relevant for a few reasons. For one, Grier is the only QB on the roster that McCarthy didn’t inherit from Jason Garrett. Also, McCarthy is a student of the West Coast offense and it’s already been said that he will bring some of that style to Dallas.
If you go back to scouting reports on Grier from 2019, you will find several (like this one) that suggest his best fit in the NFL would be in a West Coast offense. His mobility edge over Cooper Rush was obvious in the 2022 preseason and would be better utilized in that scheme.
Even if it’s not about Grier somehow becoming QB2, what about fighting off the next developmental rookie? Even though Grier is 28 now, he has barely any NFL mileage over the last four years. He’s still in his physical prime and should be even more comfortable in Dallas this year than before. It could be hard for any late-round pick or UDFA to compete with that.
Again, it’s totally understandable if you’ve already written off Will Grier. He hasn’t given you much to go on otherwise. This mysterious former third-round pick has more draft pedigree than any other passer on the roster. With offensive changes coming that appeal to his strengths, Grier may be a bigger factor going forward than you think.