North Carolina State quarterback Mike Glennon is the third of nine 2013 NFL Draft quarterback prospects that Buffalo Rumblings will profile this off-season. Heads up: Glennon is my favorite quarterback prospect in this year's draft class.
After a junior season filled with promise, Glennon completed an up-and-down senior year. He threw a last-second touchdown pass to topple then No. 3-ranked Florida State, and played well against Clemson and North Carolina, though his team lost both games. He played well for most of the Miami game, but threw a late interception that led to a Hurricanes win. The roller coaster ride ended when he played well below capability against Vanderbilt in the Music City Bowl, a year after looking like a future first rounder while beating Louisville in the Belk Bowl.
Mike Glennon | QB | North Carolina State
- 6'7", 225 pounds
- Started 26 games over three seasons (15-11 record, 1-1 in bowl games)
- Career stats: 644/1,069 (60.2% completions), 7,411 yards (6.9 YPA), 63 TD, 31 INT
Glennon is a prototypical pocket passer. He's built in the Joe Flacco mold: tall and strong armed. He can easily see over the offensive line, allowing him to scan the entire field, and makes blocking schemes designed to open throwing lanes unnecessary. His arm is second to only Tyler Bray's in terms of strength in this draft class. Glennon has the type of arm to not only throw every route in the NFL, but do it in any weather conditions. His fastballs cut through rain and wind, making him an attractive prospect for teams in northern cities.
Playing for NC State, Glennon learned to play quarterback under Tom O'Brien, whose pupils include Matt Ryan and Russell Wilson. O'Brien quarterbacks typically run pro-style offenses, read defenses well, and run full playbooks. Glennon is no different. He's well-trained in running a pro offense, and commands the entire playbook. If the Wolfpack shortened the playbook, it wasn't because of Glennon, who was able to run the offense from a traditional run-first approach and from a pass-first spread. Glennon is a hard worker, as you have to be under O'Brien, and can work through professional progressions now.
Glennon's 2011 campaign was better than 2012. He had better receivers in 2011, and faced more pressure in 2012. Despite this, he was extremely accurate in the strike zone both years, though the Wolfpack receivers dropped a lot of footballs in 2012; Glennon's accuracy won't show in the stats. Glennon is hyper-accurate when he steps forward into his throws, transitions his weight off his back foot to his front leg, and delivers. He played against lots of pressure - as many as 19 pressures came against North Carolina - but still stepped into his throws at times and delivered.
Glennon broke down mechanically in 2012 toward the latter half of the season. He developed a bad habit of throwing off his back foot against pressure, which he did more and more as 2012 progressed. I'm uncertain if he did this just to avoid getting hit, or to try and complete passes. Either way, he's going to need to re-learn to step into throws. Also, he got rattled at times when under pressure, particularly in the bowl game versus Vanderbilt. The Commodores took away most of Glennon's primary receivers, and he forced throws that he didn't need to.
Physically, Glennon is a one-trick-pony. He's a pocket passer. He's not immobile - those making him out to be a glacier may have noticed that O'Brien rolled Glennon out a lot - but he's not going to take off and run for any significant yardage. And he's frail. Glennon needs to be introduced to a NFL weight room and training table, and add about twenty pounds to his frame.
In February, I re-watched nearly all of the NC State games that I could, including the bowl game, and watched his Senior Bowl week and game. I set out to re-discover why I had Glennon rated so high, as only a few others had him rated they way I did. I noticed some more of his flaws, and also that he's not ready for the pro game. He's too thin, needs a lot of reps on footwork, and needs to develop into a leader. From most accounts, Glennon is a quiet leader. So are Eli Manning and Flacco, so it's not a bad thing, but Glennon is going to need to grow into a leadership role.
I've adjusted my position slightly. I'd still take Glennon over every quarterback in the draft, but he needs more development time. I currently see him as a better version of Brock Osweiler, Denver's second-round pick out of Arizona State in 2012. Osweiler is a better athlete, but Glennon is a far more talented passer, and both need developmental time. Any team that takes Glennon should take note of what Denver did with Osweiler - he threw the ball four times last season while developing behind Peyton Manning.
For Buffalo, taking Glennon means the team must have a long-term plan for him. He's the right kind of quarterback to play in Buffalo. He's not the right quarterback to put under center in 2013. Glennon knows how to work hard and digest a playbook, but he's got to learn to be more consistent delivering the football under pressure, and avoid the back foot delivery which plagued him in 2012. That's all going to take development time.
The talent is there though - Glennon is a late first round, early second round prospect at this point. If Buffalo has that type of development in mind, they could have a future starter if they draft Glennon. His best football is ahead of him.