Early on, when experts across the board, myself included, touted the 2012 QB class as a loaded group of guys, NC State’s Mike Glennon wasn’t one of the first names mentioned. USC’s program hero Matt Barkley, West Virginia’s gunslinger Geno Smith, and Arkansas’ gritty Tyler Wilson lead what promised to be a bright class of future NFL passers but this unique college football season brought major question marks to each player’s scouting report.
With a flurry of franchises limping through a rough patch of abysmal play at the quarterback position, this problem is only a few months’ time away from being on football’s forefront. No longer is there a clear cut organization changer or GM-job-savior, forcing decision makers to dig a little deeper across college football’s landscape. It won’t take an awful amount of digging to find Mike Glennon.
When trying to profile someone you’re hoping to be a starting quarterback for you, it’s important to get a good idea where they came from and what they’ve accomplished. It might seem obvious to cover those bases, but too many teams are sacrificing standards at this position. The 6’6” 230 Mike Glennon walked onto NC State’s campus ranked as one of 2007’s top QB prospects in all of high school football (No. 3 QB Recruit by ESPN & Rivals). The highly coveted pro-style passer was a part of an Elite-11 group that included Andrew Luck, EJ Manuel, Blaine Gabbert, and Landry Jones. Needless to say, the deep pedigree of success isn’t missing from Glennon’s file.
While this isn’t a determining factor, its’ really encouraging to see a history of success at all levels when investing a selection in a QB, Glennon has that going for him. In his two years as a starter in the ACC, Glennon has thrown for 61 scores and 26 INTs. That’s better than the 2/1 TD to INT ratio that most scouting departments ideally look for. During this time Glennon’s also managed to drag a talent deprived NC State roster to a 15-10 record as a starter, highlighted by a 17-16 win over #3 ranked Florida State.
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In the polarizing argument over Glennon, the doubters will cite the success of current Seattle Seahawk and former NC State quarterback Russell Wilson, who topped Glennon’s ratio with 76 TDs and 26 INTs in his three years as the Wolfpack starter, making it a legitimate argument to contrast the two. One that prospective NFL teams will have to sort out in the war room and ask themselves, did Russell Wilson produce and lead similar NC State teams to more production and wins than Mike Glennon? If so, why? There’s no doubt Wilson is a high caliber NFL starter who’s currently an important cog in a rare batch of rookies, but that’s no excuse for comparison if you’re expecting similar results in the NFL from Glennon. As most educated fans know, success in scouting rarely involves numbers. The story of the NFL Draft prospect that is Mike Glennon doesn’t stop here.
Unless it’s 2012 and there are two sure fire franchise QBs on the board, there are going to be good things and bad things on tape with every prospect at the position. As some franchises are finding out right now, you’re going to have to take a shot on someone at some point. You simply can’t have sustained success in the National Football League without a stable QB situation. So why Mike Glennon? Why not Mike Glennon? The balance between the answers of those two questions is going to haunt scouts and decision makers.
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The Quick Case FOR Mike Glennon:
Outside of the obvious towering frame, Glennon does some things naturally that really indicate NFL success. Despite enduring more drops than any passer in the country, Glennon is still able to move a Wolfpack offense lacking anything close to a running game. His ball placement in the short and intermediate games is really good with solid coverage identification, rarely making the wrong read.
While the flurries of check downs and crossing routes aren’t sexy to watch on a highlight film, he’s moving the offense and avoiding risk. NC States offense uses plenty of NFL concepts in the passing game (smash, drive, mesh, etc), which is encouraging with a surprising amount of modern college passers not seeing these traditional sets. One thing that really stands out with Glennon is his ability to step up against the blitz and throw strikes against man coverage.
The process of recognizing the blitz and attacking the weakness left in the defense is an important feature in quarterbacks, one that can make them a top tier player.
The Quick Case AGAINST Mike Glennon:
It’s not crazy to theorize that the negatives of Mike Glennon’s game can be summed up with one word; inconsistent. From throwing mechanics to arm strength, it’s really hard to get a true read on Glennon. One play, he’ll really project an out route on the field side and the next he finds a way to one-hop a curl pattern.
Obviously, there are more factors involved but most of these inconsistencies Glennon can control. Another completely disappointing factor in his game is mobility or lack thereof. To say Glennon is a statue might be putting it lightly. He might mask some of this with his quick decision making and release, but it could prove to be a huge issue in the NFL.
In the end, it’s really easy to see both sides of the Glennon argument. Obvious traits work for and against him, which isn’t fundamentally different from most QB prospects. The core struggle here isn’t that Glennon does some things right and some wrong, it’s that what he does right translate in a big way to the NFL making him impossible to overlook. It’s easy to see someone falling in love with him and taking him high, really high. Pending a big offseason, and that is expected, Mike Glennon could surprise you.