North Carolina State quarterback Mike Glennon has some rare physical skills.
He's six-feet-six-inches tall, which is ideal for his position, and few players can match his arm strength. Those two qualities alone are enough to get him on the radar of most scouts.
But hype has started to build around the idea that Glennon may be the draft's best signal caller and could find a home in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Let's take a look at where the buzz is coming from and whether there is anything to it.
Why Mike Glennon could be a first round pick
Size and Arm Talent
Glennon's combination of size and arm talent is unmatched by any of his draft counterparts. He has the prototypical build to play quarterback in the NFL and has the arm strength to make all of the throws in the route tree. Glennon has enough arm strength to make throws off his back foot and from unnatural angles, which is a must in the NFL.
Beyond just his natural arm talent, though, Glennon exhibits solid throwing mechanics. He naturally shifts his weight from his back foot to his front foot when throwing and has a high release point. His release is also smooth and quick enough to succeed in the NFL.
Experience in a pro style offense
Not many quarterbacks enter the draft with four years of experience in a pro-style offense. Glennon will. His game definitely reflects his experience in certain areas. Glennon's drop-backs from under center are smooth and natural. He won't need to adjust much in that area. He also has some practice going through reads, which will be crucial at the next level.
The 2013 NFL Draft lacks a runaway top quarterback
Matt Barkley entered the season as the favorite to be drafted No. 1 overall. He's far from a consensus at this point, as he as struggled to string together solid outings consistently for USC this season. Geno Smith shot up draft boards in September, but West Virginia has struggled since, and Smith's draft stock has cooled off some.
The race to be the first quarterback off the board is essentially wide open at this point. While Glennon appears to be a long shot, he's in the mix with Barkley, Smith and Arkansas' Tyler Wilson. The lack of a consensus top quarterback could elevate Glennon's draft position.
Why Glennon shouldn't be a first round pick
While Glennon has ideal size for the NFL, his athleticism suffers as a result. When the pocket is clean, life is good for Glennon. When pressured, Glennon struggles. He doesn't have a great feel for the rush and struggles to buy time for himself in the pocket. While Glennon has a strong enough arm to make throws from odd angles and off of his back foot, his accuracy suffers a great deal when he is pressured.
Accuracy, decision making and consistency
We never advocate box score scouting, but a quick look at Glennon's game log reveals a glaring issue; he is inconsistent and turns the ball over quite a bit. I've watched every throw Glennon made against Tennessee and every throw he made against North Carolina, two games on the opposite end of his spectrum. While he often gets no help from his receivers, Glennon's accuracy and decision making are way questionable at times. He gets caught forcing passes into coverage or not stepping into his throws, causing arrant passes.
Mike Glennon is far from a finished product. I, like many others, can often get carried away with size and arm strength, ignoring other, potentially more important traits. Glennon has a long way to go, and his pocket presence is concerning, particularly because of what pressure does to his accuracy and ability to make smart decisions with the football.
Quarterbacks with Glennon's size and arm are rare. But quarterbacks who can't operate with anything less than a clean pocket won't succeed in the NFL. That's an area that Glennon absolutely must improve upon.
That being said, history tells us that Glennon will come off the board in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft and have an outside shot at the first round. Quarterbacks are always overvalued on draft day. Last year, Brock Osweiler came off the board in the second round, and Glennon is every bit the prospect Osweiler was.
Glennon reminds me a bit of Joe Flacco with the upside to be even better. The Senior Bowl will be critical for Glennon. If he has a solid showing, he'll cement his status a day two pick and creep towards the first round.