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Future Broncos QB? Will Grier believes past adversity has prepared him for NFL. – The Denver Post

MOBILE, Ala. — A starter in the SEC as a redshirt freshman. A failed drug test. A mid-career transfer.

In his five years at Florida and West Virginia, Will Grier experienced uncommon highs and lows. Add it all up and he thinks it has prepared him perfectly for the NFL.

“It’s been a wonderful journey,” said Grier, one of eight quarterbacks at this week’s Senior Bowl. “I’ve dealt with a lot of adversity and came out a stronger person.”

Grier, 23, is not projected as a high first-rounder. But he could be an intriguing option for teams like the Broncos that are drafting early in the second round and could move up into the latter part of the first round, like Minnesota did in 2014 to draft Teddy Bridgewater and Baltimore did last year to take Lamar Jackson.

What should interest teams is Grier’s career completion percentage (65.8), which is generally one trait that is tough to markedly improve at the pro level.

“Accuracy is really important and leadership is huge,” Grier said. “Especially in today’s age, when you’re in the huddle with guys from all different backgrounds and all different ages, you have to be able to lead, get everybody on the same page and do what it takes to win.”

Grier opted to sit out West Virginia’s bowl game against Syracuse. The belief at the time was Grier did not want to risk injury and hurt his pro stock. The reality: He was already injured.

“I actually tore my ankle up in the Texas game (Nov. 3),” Grier said. “I didn’t really put that out to the media (then). It was pretty rough playing the last few games. I was getting treatment and planning on playing (in the bowl game). (Coach) Dana (Holgorsen) knew how important it was for me to get healthy and chase my dream to play in the NFL.”

Grier said he’s not completely healed but is feeling much better. “Sprained ankles nag for a while and it hurts on some things. I’ll be full go for the Combine (in late February) and looking forward to it.”

Grier did not need to play a bowl game to improve his draft stock. His 2018 season was eye-popping. He had 10 300-yard passing games, including two of 420-plus yards. He had five games with at least four touchdown passes, and only eight interceptions in 397 attempts.

Before facing West Virginia in September, then-Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said of Grier: “He’s obviously very talented — great arm, very poised, great pocket presence. He’s mature — kind of like an NFL player already. You can tell he’s mastered that system. He’s one of the best in the country, no question.”

Grier took a winding road toward stardom at West Virginia.

A four-star high school recruit from the Charlotte, N.C., area, he threw for 14,565 yards and 195 touchdowns. He signed with Florida, redshirted in 2014 and took over the starting job in 2015.

But then came the adversity. On Oct. 12 of that season, he was suspended for a year after testing positive for Ligandrol, a banned supplement. Grier admitted to not clearing the product with Florida’s training staff. An appeal was denied. Two months later, Grier announced his intention to transfer.

“I think (NFL teams) all know (the story) for the most part,” Grier said. “I’ve talked to a lot of them about it, even this week. It was an unfortunate thing that really hurt me. I poured my heart and soul into that program and I wanted to stay there. I felt like I let my teammates down.”

Grier quipped that he has had “thousands of drug tests,” since arriving at West Virginia.

“Never had an issue,” he said. “It’s just not who I am. I would never let my teammates down again in any circumstance.”

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