2015 NFL Draft Prospect You Need To Know: Mountain West
NFL teams in the market for a quarterback in next year's draft better be prepared to do most of their shopping in the left half of the country. There are five quarterbacks to consider in the Pac-12 alone: Oregon's Marcus Mariota, Stanford's Kevin Hogan, UCLA's Brett Hundley, Oregon State's Sean Mannion and Arizona State's Taylor Kelly.
Not to be outdone, there are three worth checking out in the Mountain West. You may have heard about Utah State's Chuckie Keeton or Nevada's Cody Fajardo. But the one whom most NFL scouts are likely to visit the Mountain to see is Colorado State's Garrett Grayson.
Unlike so many of his college counterparts, regardless of region, Grayson looks perfectly at home in the pocket -- not unlike that other guy in the Denver area wearing No. 18. He has NFL size (6-foot-2, 220 pounds), which allows him to stand tall and keep his eyes downfield, and he's decisive once he settles on where he needs to deliver the ball.
That's not to suggest he's immobile. Grayson is able to move around the pocket without being tempted to tuck and run, keeping a pass option open as long as possible. And when he does have to leave the pocket, he shows both the ability to avoid a defender and the awareness to find his way to the sidelines.
There have been questions about his arm strength, but he threw downfield plenty in 2013 and hasn't shown any lack of confidence in the deep ball. Grayson needs to take better care of the ball in general (20 interceptions in 24 career games), but that stands as an area of improvements scouts will want to see this season.
Grayson has flourished in his two seasons under CSU head coach Jim McElwain, the former offensive coordinator at Alabama who was in Tuscaloosa during A.J. McCarron's two best seasons. Grayson, in fact, is a lot like McCarron -- a pocket passer who does so many of the little things well (Grayson isn't quite Boomer Esiason carrying out a play-action fake, but he uses it better than anyone in college).
Like McCarron, Grayson is likely to wind up a Day Three draft pick. But if there's a darkhorse prospect to be found out west this season, Grayson is a strong candidate.