Excuse me for a minute if I don’t find myself gushing over Jameis Winston and his NFL skill set. Also excuse me if I believe, personally, that Marcus Mariota needs a little more time than Aaron Rodgers to develop into what we are expecting from him. If I am an NFL General Manager in this upcoming draft (I certainly am not) and I am looking for that elusive franchise quarterback to pioneer my team into the depths of consistency and playoff hopes, I find myself not looking at the “big name” schools. I find myself digging a little deeper into the depths of universities across the nation in order to find that elusive piece to my franchise.
Look no further than the marvelous town of Fort Collins, CO.
Fort Collins, CO, home to New Belgium Brewery, Odell Brewing, a plethora of other breweries waiting to be discovered, the legendary Armstrong Hotel, Lucky Joes Bar, and last but not least Colorado State University. You know, that “other” school in Colorado? Last I checked though, “the” University of Colorado didn’t have a quarterback representing them in this years NFL draft who in 2014 passed Colorado State great Kelly Stouffer to become the University’s all-time leader in passing yards. University of Colorado also doesn’t have a quarterback in this years NFL draft who was named conference players of the year. They also don’t have a quarterback in this years NFL draft who is likeable, right down to his humility both on and off the field.
Enter Garrett Grayson, the 6 foot 2 inch, Vancouver, WA native who is by all accounts perhaps the most NFL ready quarterback in the 2015 draft. Grayson spent his 2014 senior campaign lighting up the skies of the Mountain West Conference and leading Colorado State to a composure testing victory over Boston College IN Boston.
Imagine for me the following: Quarterback A and Quarterback B. Quarterback A attempted 420 passes, amassed 4006 yards, threw 32 TDs and seven INTs, posted a whopping 9.54 yards per attempt, and completed 64.3% of those 420 passes. Quarterback B attempted 467 passes, amassed 3907 yards, threw for 25 TDs and 18 INTs, posted a pretty great 8.37 yards per attempt and completed 65.3% of those passes. Did I mention that Quarterback B also has been the topic of multiple criminal investigations including but not limited to seafood? No one will deny the year that Jameis Winston had in 2013 leading Florida State to a national championship, and certainly no one will deny that the kid can play and he has an on-field leadership that is lauded for his competitive nature. He was the reason of a lot of wins for Florida State, and he potentially will be the reason of a lot of wins for an NFL franchise. He could also be the reason for a lot of problems for an NFL franchise.
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, Quarterback A is none other than Garrett Grayson. Who graduated from college, played four years, and from the few times I have seen him in public and interacted with him, doesn’t have an affinity for seafood. He was the reason for a lot of the wins that Colorado State University posted over his college career. He will also be the reason for a lot wins for an NFL franchise. He will also be the reason that people can cheer for an NFL franchise even though it’s not their favorite franchise.
Call it bias. Call it fandom. Or call it an alumni from the same university speaking very highly of a player that he has crossed paths with and has been fortunate to watch play throughout his college career. You can certainly call it whatever you want. There hasn’t always been a lot to celebrate about Colorado State University Football, but Grayson helped change the culture in Fort Collins and the view of the football program at the university. He was a lot more than just a college quarterback. He brought life into a dead program. Some will point to the captain that jumped ship in Jim McElwain that helped revitalize a dead program, and while the coach is often the reason for a lot of success, the quarterback is a big reason too.
Before the conclusions are jumped to about Grayson’s performance in the NFL and how he won’t make it because he went to a non-Power Conference school, just remember that a quarterback that just won his fourth Super Bowl was picked 199th in the NFL Draft. While Brady went to Michigan and Grayson to Colorado State University, the quarterback position has never been more important than it is in today’s league.
If I were an NFL General Manager I would know just how important the quarterback position is. I would know that I need someone who can command the respect of my locker room, and obtain the adoration of my fans. I need a quarterback that might not come from the most known program in the nation, but will be part of my program for years to come because of his work ethic and adaptability. I need the disciplined quarterback.
If I were an NFL General Manager, I need Garrett Grayson. If I were an NFL General Manager I couldn’t wait to take him out for lobster after he turns out to be the elusive “Franchise Quarterback,” I was hoping for all this time.
Fight on Garrett, on towards the goal.