Dak Prescott has cemented his status as the Dallas Cowboys long-term QB1, but the backup competition is underway behind the face of the franchise. The Cowboys also have Cooper Rush, Will Grier and Ben DiNucci fighting for a roster spot during training camp.
The Cowboys are clearly not going to be able to have four quarterbacks on the active roster, and it remains to be seen if Dallas will keep three signal-callers. Heading into training camp, former Cowboys scout Bryan Broaddus and team insider Bobby Belt made their predictions for the final 53-man roster. Belt believes that Grier will not make the final roster predicting the Cowboys will only keep two quarterbacks: Prescott and DiNucci.
“Starting off with the quarterbacks, I think [the Cowboys only keep] Cooper Rush and Dak Prescott,” Belt explained during a July 26 episode of the “Love of the Star” podcast. “Now, they did carry Will Grier at times last year. They did have three at a time, and Mike McCarthy is a quarterback guy.
“But I think there’s just going to be a couple areas [positions where cuts need to be made], especially assuming you’re going to have to hold on to Michael Gallup for a few weeks without him being on PUP. You’re just going to have to make a sacrifice somewhere, and that’s probably quarterback. Just my own opinion.”
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Grier Has Flashed During Training Camp
To be clear, Belt’s prediction was made prior to the start of training camp, and a strong preseason from Grier could make for a difficult decision in Dallas. The Cowboys could release both Grier and DiNucci only to re-sign one of the quarterbacks to the practice squad if they are not claimed by another team via waivers.
“I think around the league that the teams appreciated having the flexibility to be able to do that [keep veterans on the practice squad during COVID],” Broaddus responded. “Ben DiNucci, Will Grier, one of those guys is going to end up on your practice squad, likely as your third guy.”
Rush Is the Favorite to Win the Cowboys Backup QB Job
So far, all indications are Grier is doing everything in his power to put pressure on the Cowboys about his future. Dallas 97.1 the Eagle’s Jeff Cavanaugh noted Grier has had a “solid camp.” WFAA’s Mike Leslie outlined why Rush headed into training camp with the upper hand while adding that Grier is making a run at the backup spot.
“Cooper Rush winning a game for the Cowboys in spot duty last year is an awfully big feather in his cap, and makes him hard to unseat as the Cowboys backup quarterback,” Leslie tweeted on July 29. “But Will Grier has done some nice things early on in this camp, that make him an intriguing guy to watch.”
Grier Was Once Projected to be a First-Round Pick
During his final collegiate season at West Virginia, Pro Football Focus projected Grier would be selected in the first round of the 2019 NFL draft. Ultimately, the Panthers drafted Grier in the third round with the No. 100 overall pick.
The Cowboys successfully claimed Grier off waivers on September 1, 2021 after he was released by the Panthers. Heading into the draft, The Athletic’s Dane Brugler had Grier as his No. 5 ranked quarterback prospect believing the signal-caller had enough tools to eventually challenge for a starting job.
“Overall, Grier struggles to identify/feel pressures and his inconsistent decision-making is a concern, but he is a natural rhythm passer and once he finds that rhythm, he can be deadly, projecting as a backup NFL quarterback worthy of competing for a starting job,” Brugler wrote in his 2019 pre-draft guide.
Rush has a lot of momentum to be the team’s QB2 after leading the Cowboys to an October 31 victory last season when Prescott was sidelined with a calf injury. Time will tell if Grier’s play during training camp will be enough to secure the backup spot behind Prescott.