Can Mike Glennon be a first rounder?

Mike Glennon - Florida State v North Carolina State

At 6-5, 235 lbs, NC State’s Mike Glennon certainly looks like he fits the mould of an NFL signal caller. One of the top quarterback recruits out of high school in 2008, the Virginia-native arrived in Raleigh surrounded by much hype but was nevertheless forced to sit for three years whilst others from the same class, such as Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, made names for themselves.

Glennon redshirted his first year with NC State, before serving as backup behind current Seattle Seahawks starter Russell Wilson for the next two seasons, quietly biding his time, waiting for an opportunity to prove himself. That opportunity eventually came in 2011, when head coach Tom O’Brien, concerned about Wilson’s commitment to football in the wake of his decision to sign with the Colorado Rockies, decided he could afford to sit the highly regarded Glennon no longer and handed the reins of his team over to the unproven-but-clearly-talented redshirt junior.

With Wilson transferring to Wisconsin, Glennon thus slowly but surely began to demonstrate over the course of the 2011 campaign why he was such a highly coveted prospect coming out of the prep ranks, posting a quarterback rating of 136.4 with 3,054 passing yards, 31 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in his first year as the starter.

Going into his senior season, expectations were accordingly high for Glennon, with many tipping the Wolfpack quarterback to push on from the success of 2011 and establish himself as a certified first-round talent. Things however haven’t quite gone to plan in year two, and performances have been decidedly mixed. On some occasions, Glennon has looked like a number one overall pick, while on others, such as the season opener when he was picked off four times against Tennessee, he has appeared completely undraftable.

Finishing the season having completed 295 of 511 passes (57.73%) for 3,648 yards, 30 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, Glennon’s draft projections are currently up in the air. His less than stellar senior year means that he finds himself hovering around the third round as we inch closer to draft season but, such is the buzz surrounding his highly desirable traits, Mel Kiper has even suggested in the past few days that the NC State quarterback could be in contention to be the first player off the board come April 25, 2013. While this may seem like a wildly careless statement to make at present (and this is after all a man who once claimed that Jimmy Clausen was the best player available in the 2010 draft) it is known that Glennon is highly admired within NFL scouting circles.

That in mind, how does the young quarterback stack up in evaluation terms? Playing under a head coach who helped mentor Matt Ryan at Boston College, Glennon has inevitably been likened to the Falcons quarterback in the past, though those comparisons do not quite hold water. The two may be of a similar stature but Ryan is certainly the more athletically gifted (an underrated trait of his), while Glennon is clearly not as accomplished when it comes to short-to-intermediates passes. He does arguably possess a stronger arm than his counterpart did coming out of the 2008 draft however, with the ability to make throws downfield reminiscent of another former NC State product, Philip Rivers (minus the unorthodox throwing motion). Rivers was of course a far more highly touted and accomplished prospect when he entered the NFL in 2004 but, all the same, their strengths are somewhat similar.

Glennon is really your classic, drop-back quarterback prospect. Though far from the most limited of athletes at the position, he certainly won’t wow you with his wheels and, as a result, struggles both to avoid pressure inside the pocket and with his footwork.

Furthermore, despite showcasing the ability to make every throw in the book, Glennon does have a habit for trusting his arm too much, resulting in some awful turnovers over the past season, while his tendency to get caught throwing flat footed can really hamper his accuracy, especially when facing heavy blitz pressure.

Nevertheless, Glennon’s prototypical size and strong (though not quite elite) arm are sure to entice many a team this offseason and one can certainly see him further rising up draft boards when it comes to the Senior Bowl and Combine. As we saw last year with Nick Foles, prospects of Glennon’s ilk often see their stock soar in the run up to April and if the towering quarterback impresses during workouts then he could well find himself in first round contention, much like the now established Joe Flacco and Josh Freeman have done in previous years. Kiper’s prediction at this stage really does seem farfetched but who knows; with the quarterback class this year so open to interpretation, perhaps the opportunity is there for Glennon to seize the crown of the premiere passer in the 2013 class? The likes of Geno Smith, Matt Barkley and Tyler Wilson all come with their own question marks and any team none too enamoured with them could just as easily fall head over heels for Glennon’s projectable physique and passing skillset.

Glennon is certainly a leader on the field, with a great football IQ and a clear love for the game. There is clearly a great prospect within that 6-5, 235 lbs frame, which is ready and waiting to be moulded, though there is much work to be done in the future if a starting job in the NFL is ever to be his.

For a senior quarterback, Glennon is still awfully raw and if there was ever an indication for his need to be carefully mentored before he steps onto a playing field at the next level, simply go back and watch some of his games this year to see him force the ball into heavily congest areas. The decision making certainly needs some work but, judging by the majority of his play, it is not something which can’t be fixed. Glennon will likely need a season or two to sit and take in the knowledge of NFL coaching before he is prepared to start but there is clearly enough there to suggest that he has the skillset to ultimately enjoy a more than reasonable pro career. In a weak draft class for quarterbacks, it’s not at all outlandish to suggest that he could easily go on to become the most adept signal caller selected in 2013, if his development is handled wisely.

Best Case: Matt Schaub

Worst Case: Andrew Walter (former Oakland Raiders)

Projected Round: Early-to-mid 2nd

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