While Vanderbilt isn't known for pumping out talented in the SEC outside of Jay Cutler, the Commodores have a handful of NFL talent on deck as they face off against NC State. After firing coach Tom O'Brien, it won't be an easy task facing off against one of the best young coaches in James Franklin, but Mike Glennon, Tobais Palmer, and NC State have the talent offensively to hang with any team.
The scouts on hand will be focusing on Mike Glennon against an SEC defense, but checking and focusing on Zac Stacy and Tobais Palmer would be a wise move for fans and scouts as well.
Notes by Eric Galko and Alex Brown of Optimum Scouting
Mike Glennon, QB, NC State - #10, 6'6, 232
Mike Glennon has gone from pre-season trendy mid round sleeper QB to now being thrusted into the limelight as potentially the top quarterback in the 2013 NFL Draft (thanks ESPN, Kiper). Despite not being an elite quarterback prospect, he still flashes elite QB qualities that could give him an argument to go in the Top 10 to a QB needy team. He has a big time arm, spins a consistently clean ball, and has very good ball placement in the short area, as well as vertically. He transitions through his reads well, and uses his eyes to direct deep safeties well. His issues lie with decision making vs. interior zone, adjusting/decision making vs. interior pressure, and being too anxious when transitioning off his first read at times. Still, it’s the size, arm, and flashes of brilliance that could lead Glennon to being a Top 15 overall selection on draft day.
Tobais Palmer, WR, NC State - #4, 5'11, 176
Not a consistent force in the offense (though he ended the season with 21 catches and 5 TDs in his final 3 games), Palmer flashes the vertical ability and kick return upside to still warrant a mid-round pick if he tests well in the post-season. He has fantastic vision as a returner, and has great lower body strength to stay low to the ground and bounce off tackles in open space. He gets upfield quickly as a receiver, but lacks great separation in the short area and great route transitions/adjustment vision to be effective in the mid range. As a vertical receiver, he shows experience/definition in double moves, a decent catch radius vertically, and separation downfield to exploit defenses using his speed. Not a complete/polished receiver, he could make for a big play, vertical slot receiver.
David Amerson, CB, NC State - #1, 6'3, 200
The 6’3, 200 pound cornerback has ideal size, and has flashed the physicality downfield, the ball skills, and the savvy-ness in coverage to develop into a feature cornerback on a roster.
But struggles with his hip fluidity and reaction to the receiver’s routes have been an issue this year. Both concerns are fairly major, however, as they seem to be critical factors for evaluating cornerbacks, especially when considering if he can get vertical in man coverage against bigger bodied receivers. It does, however, seem that he could still fit smoothly in a Cover 2 and/or zone based system, and has the length to finish tackles and the physicality to win the short area. Still, it’s unclear if he’ll have Top 20 or even first round value as a zone only cornerback, but could have enough talent to be a dominating force in the ideal system.
Jordan Rodgers, QB, Vanderbilt – #11, 6’2, 210
Mobile and strong-armed, Jordan Rodgers flashes big play ability but more consistently disappoints with flawed mechanics. Too often, Rodgers delivers the football from a standstill, failing to generate ideal weight transfer at the end of his pass drop. When able to step into the throw with proper mechanics, Rodgers showcases a big-time arm and ability to fit the ball into tight windows; still, issues with his setup and release result in wobbly deep throws and inconsistent accuracy across the board. Rodgers needs to do a better job of maintaining a proper throwing base when sliding and resetting his feet within the pocket when pressured, and be smart with the football to avoid turnovers. Likely to be a priority free agent, Rodgers certainly has the pedigree to earn a late draft selection.
Zac Stacy, RB, Vanderbilt – #2, 5’9, 210
Stacy was a steady climber in our rankings at Optimum Scouting, beginning the year as a 6th round projection and finishing the season as a 4th round projection. Able to alternate between being light on his toes to swiftly cut through traffic or being heavy with his lower half to anchor and power through first contact, Stacy produced extremely well between the tackles with a well-rounded skill set. Stacy compensates his lack of long speed, with excellent vision, ideal balance and a sturdy frame. Short and very stocky at 210 pounds, Stacy has the build to handle a workload and the strength to move the pile.
Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt – #87, 6’3, 200 (JR)
The prototype outside receiver prospect with a “plus” size-speed combo, Matthews lit up the stat sheet in 2012 and placed himself on the map as a potential high round 2013 draft prospect. Having the soft hands and wide catching radius to snatch the football cleanly off his frame, Matthews does a tremendous job of attacking the football at the catch point to help his quarterback out. Matthews’ ability to accelerate out of the break and change directions sharply for a taller target should draw second or third round grades from NFL teams. He’ll draw an exciting matchup with NC State’s junior cornerback David Amerson, and should have the upper hand in the speed department.
Others to Watch:
RJ Mattes, OT, NC State - #78, 6'6, 314
Early Wolff, S, NC State - #, 6'1, 210
Brandon Bishop, S, NC State - #, 6'2, 215
Josh Jelesky, OG, Vanderbilt - #69, 6’5, 290
Rob Lohr, DT, Vanderbilt – #84, 6’4, 290
Trey Wilson, CB, Vanderbilt - #8, 5’11, 192
Kenny Ladler, S, Vanderbilt - #1, 6’0, 205 (JR)