Sports

2013 NFL Draft: Is Mike Glennon the Real Deal?

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In a wide-open year for quarterbacks, one guy that’s trying to state his case to be one of the first quarterbacks selected is Mike Glennon of N.C. State. Glennon is similar in a lot of ways to San Diego Chargers quarter Phillip Rivers, who is also a tall pocket passer that attended N.C. State. But while Rivers is a well-established quarterback, questions remain regarding whether Glennon is a pretender or a contender when it comes to being a starter in the NFL.

When current Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson transferred to Wisconsin for his final year of eligibility, Glennon stepped in at N.C. State and became a two-year starter, throwing for over 7,000 yards and 62 touchdowns over those two years. Those two seasons have put Glennon on the radar as a potential first round pick, especially in this quarterback-light draft class.

What stands out about Glennon the most are his size and arm strength. At 6’6’’, he has the ideal size for an NFL quarterback, as well as the pocket presence and the arm strength of the prototypical pocket passer. He doesn’t have the strongest arm in the draft, but he has more than enough arm strength to make all the necessary throws and is capable of putting plenty of zip on the ball. Mentally, he has a great understanding of pro-style offenses and is able to go through his progressions without locking in on a single receiver, which isn’t always the case with young NFL quarterbacks. He’s also shown the ability to look off defenders and manipulate them with fakes, another great sign of an experienced quarterback that understands the game. Glennon had one of his more impressive moments in a game against eventual ACC champion Florida State, when he led his team to two 4th quarter touchdowns, the second coming in the final minute of the game, to erase a 13-point deficit against a top defense. It was a game that showcased the kind of leadership and poise Glennon is capable of, as well as his command of the offense in a pressure situation.

On the downside, Glennon lacks athleticism and mobility, and is ineffective when forced from the pocket. When he’s under pressure, Glennon can sometimes rush through things and forget his mechanics, causing both accuracy problems and bad decisions. When under pressure and forced to act quickly, he isn’t always willing to step up in the pocket, and instead he will rely too much on his arm, which leads to bad throws. On three separate occasions during his senior year, Glennon threw three or more interceptions, with two of those games coming against SEC defenses that featured better pass rushers than he saw in the ACC most weeks. That being said, the talent around him was mediocre and may have held him back at times.

So, is Glennon a pretender or a contender? Contender. Much like his fellow N.C. State alum Rivers, Glennon has a real good shot at being an effective NFL starting quarterback. The size, arm talent, and intelligence are all enough to be a starter. The problems he does have with his mechanics and footwork can be fixed with the help of NFL coaches. He may not be ready to step in and start from day one, but it shouldn’t be more than year before Glennon is ready to take the reins of an NFL team.