In late 2018, Cam Newton‘s shoulder was injured to the point where it was visible on film that he was in pain. The Carolina Panthers lost seven consecutive games from Week 10 to Week 16. Newton threw at least one interception in his last six games of the season before having to sit out Weeks 16 and 17. From Weeks 11 to 15 his average yardage per completion dropped every game. In Week 11 his average was 9.6 yards and it dropped to 4.5 in Week 15. His heavy rushing puts his injury risk higher as well.
There were talks of the Panthers resting him for all of 2019 to heal his shoulder. His injury was compared to Andrew Luck‘s that caused him to miss almost two seasons. While reports say he is ready to go for Week 1 this season, the throwing shoulder is a delicate body part. Any tweak or awkward throwing angles could re-aggravate the injury. Every sack or tackle brings injury risk. When throwing every day, there is a high risk for shoulder injury even without a previous injury. While Newton may be ready for opening weekend, there is now a seriously-high risk for re-injury and it could happen at any point in time. If it should happen, the Panthers finally might have a great backup option.
Will Grier out of West Virginia University just might be the backup that can keep the Panther offense afloat should Newton get injured. Grier had two full seasons as a starter there. He tossed 3,500 yards with almost 40 touchdowns each season, which was among some of the best stats in college during his tenure. He was a prolific passer and was right up there in all passing statistics with No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray. The third-round pick had the highest throwing velocity at the NFL Combine this year showing he can really spin the football. In college, Grier supported Gary Jennings, a fourth round pick by the Seattle Seahawks. He also supported David Sills who, despite going undrafted, was a leader in college football in touchdown receptions and finished as a finalist for the award for best receiver in college football.
Grier is older for a rookie at age 24. This means he is less appealing in dynasty but should be on everyone’s radar in any league that starts two quarterbacks. His older age means he is (hopefully) much more mature and more experienced in the game of football than any normal rookie. Should he ever get the chance, Grier has excellent weapons at his disposal. Christian McCaffrey, D.J Moore, Curtis Samuel, Ian Thomas/Greg Olsen are all extremely talented. Not to mention they even added an offensive tackle with second-round draft capital this year, another in the sixth round, signed top-tier center Matt Paradis, and re-signed tackle Darryl Williams.