Draft Prospect Watch: Mike Glennon (North Carolina State)

The late, great Al Davis seemed to make a March tradition of hitting the Super Bowl kool aid, ladling heaping portions of Desmond Howards and Larry Browns into the Raiders’ cup, only to learn that one game, a great player does not make.  (I’m convinced Davis offered to make a run to the bar for the Buccaneers the year they overpaid Alvin Harper, too.)

I’ll admit it: gratuitous theme for this post, in the name of adding this image to the blog.

If football executives find it hard to contain their passion for Super Bowl heroes, football writers are not far behind.  Take Joe Flacco.  Not only did his 2013 playoff success eviscerate any memory of some of Flacco’s worst stinkers, but suddenly he ascended to the standard by which all other strong-armed quarterbacks are judged.

Football writers seem to have anointed Mike Glennon the next Joe Flacco — not the highest compliment a football player could be paid, as recently as early 2012.  But Glennon does not even measure up to Flacco, and with all this hype, some team is bound to take a page out of Al Davis’s playbook come draft day.

First, Flacco. For all his ups and downs in the pros, Flacco was nothing short of surgical behind center for the Delaware Blue Hens.  He showed he could make every NFL pass consistently, and looked confident doing it.

Glennon does very few things consistently.  Passes sail on him or fall short of intended receivers.  He can have five touchdown passes in the first quarter one week, and five turnovers by the end of the next.

Turnovers, in fact, may be Glennon’s biggest problem.  He displays absolutely no sense for ball security.  This includes the center exchange and broken plays, but also throwing into coverage or across the field.  This became a huge problem for a North Carolina State team that often trailed in games; he is not likely to inherit a much cushier role in his first pro gig.

Glennon does not wilt under pressure, although he moves awkwardly in the pocket, and doesn’t scramble well at all.  It’s sort of a bad combination, when you think about it: the confidence to throw in the face of the pass rush, but the inability to adjust his feet and his reads to make a good throw.

Glennon probably does have a stronger arm than anyone in his draft class, or last year’s for that matter.  But somehow the perfect spirals he effortlessly flicks twenty yards downfield conjure up something less than the reigning Super Bowl MVP.  Closer to the mark might be Josh Freeman, without the latter’s agility and tight-end build.  Ask Bucs fans how they feel about Freeman on any given Sunday.  The response from the faithful of Glennon’s next team is not likely to be much more enthusiastic.

The bottom line is that Glennon, for all of his arm strength, struggles in the areas that matter most in the NFL: delivering timely, accurate passes and avoiding turnovers.

I like Glennon — as a project, possibly in the mold of what New England is attempting with Ryan Mallett.  Glennon mostly threw from the spread in college, so he’ll have to learn pro formations, in addition to figuring out the pieces of his game that translate to the next level and those that don’t.  If only because the quarterback position is so crucial, a team would be justified in rolling the dice on Glennon in the mid-second round, then stashing him behind an astute veteran for a few years.  Anything higher? Think: Al Davis at the punch bowl.


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