Some don’t see a future NFL starting quarterback when they look at former NC State signal caller Mike Glennon, when I look I see that and maybe even more.
Glennon has his inconsistencies just like any other quarterback in this class. He has a cannon for an arm and yet might be the most erratic passer in the upcoming draft. His ability to throw the ball within ten yards of the line of scrimmage could be classified as elite, surpassing even the likes of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. Statistically, Glennon may be one of the more ‘NFL ready’ quarterback prospects. The 6’7″ hurler draws comparisons to another former tall, lanky and powerful college quarterback, Joe Flacco. But is the NC State hopeful ready for the NFL? Where would he fit best?
Where should Glennon go?
The best case scenario for Glennon would to be drafted by the Arizona Cardinals with their second pick. This would mean Glennon would be drafted in the second round or Arizona could trade up into the back end of the first round to grab him. Why trade up in the first? Because with the new CBA, Arizona can get a fifth year on Glennon’s rookie deal if they draft him in the first round.
The Cardinals are led by Pro Bowl wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Fitz may not be as explosive than he was in years past, but he can still play and produce like a top three wide receiver in the NFL. The only thing holding him back is Arizona’s quarterback play. Mike Glennon has the strongest arm in this year’s class, and while he’s slightly inconsistent with down field throws, he’d be able to get the ball to Fitzgerald without issue.
The root of Arizona’s poor quarterback play is the performance of the offensive line. If Arizona drafts the best left tackle available with the seventh overall pick, whether it be Eric Fisher, Luke Joeckel or Lane Johnson, the QB play in Arizona will automatically improve. New Head Coach Bruce Arians is the former offensive coordinator for Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts. He loves to stretch the field with deep throws. Glennon could give Arizona a serious spark with the right coaching.
Glennon has tremendous arm strength, yet his deep pass accuracy is an area of improvement. But I ask, how much does this area really matter? I would argue that this insufficiency can be covered up rather easily. I’m projecting him to be drafted by Arizona, so let’s use new Cardinal’s coach Bruce Arian’s last rookie quarterback’s numbers as a measuring stick.
Andrew Luck, praised by most analysts as the best quarterback prospect to ever appear on a draft board, had one tiny flaw about him; His deep balls lacked accuracy. During Luck’s Senior campaign at Stanford he completed under fifty percent of his throws traveling farther than twenty yards down field (very similar to Glennon). Knowing this, Arians had Luck throw the ball 246 times within ten yards of the line of scrimmage in his rookie year. This range is Luck’s sweet spot. He threw with velocity and accuracy. He completed 60% of those 246 attempts, and eight of his twenty TDs came within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. Luck only threw the ball farther than twenty yards 83 times last season. Although he fell short of rookie of the year accolades, Luck had a strong rookie campaign. His inability to consistently complete the deep ball did not stop him from being a threat in the AFC South.
Glennon may not be drafted by Arizona or be coached by Arians, but if he is, there’s a good chance that Arians will approach Glennon’s development the same way as Luck’s, with a heavy dose of short and intermediate length passes. Pressuring Glennon to throw the ball deep down field more than five or six times a game would be counter-intuitive. Glennon is inconsistent, but only to a point. A smart coach and coordinator will focus on his strengths and give him the best chance of success.
To ram my point home that Glennon is the most statistically sound passer in this year’s draft class in the “1-5 yard” range, just take a peak at these numbers:
33% of Glennon’s passes were thrown in this range, second to only Tyler Wilson with 39%. Glennon completed a massive 81.82% of those short passes, second to only Geno Smith. Only 15% of Geno’s passes were within one and five yards however, so keep that in mind.
Please don’t mistake Glennon’s slight inaccuracies for an inability to do “deep”. Glennon is more than confident in his deep ball and so were his coaches at NC State. His 44% completion percentage on passes thrown beyond 20 yards is around 3% lower than the average college quarterback. You will have to decide for yourself if this concerns you. I myself, don’t find this to be a concern due to the point made before about the potential volume (or lack thereof) of deep passes Glennon would be asked to throw as a young quarterback.
What IS slightly concerning however, is that 15% of Glennon’s incompletions this past season were due to overthrows. While this can be improved, it’s also something that could linger with Glennon throughout his career. Let’s hope that he has better receivers to work with in the NFL. NC State receivers dropped 9% of Glennon’s attempts this past season, one of the worst marks in all of Division I.
Worry NOT however if Glennon does NOT get drafted by Arizona, there is still upside. Another team in desperate need of a quarterback is Buffalo. And they also could draft him early on. Weapons like C.J. Spiller and Stevie Johnson would give Glennon better support than many current teams. Stevie J happens to be a specialist at creating separation from an opposing defensive backs and could be very effective in that 10-15 yard range.
I give you this advice: if Mike Glennon gets drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the upcoming NFL Draft, make an effort to draft him as well. He will most likely become their starter immediately and has a proven coaching staff around him that will play to his strengths. I also encourage you to take a flier on him even if Arizona does not select him. He is the purest arm talent in this class, and is my third highest dynasty quarterback amongst other rookie signal callers.