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A PERIODIC LOOK AT SOME OF THE MOST INTRIGUING DRAFT PROSPECTS
Imagine an NFL where teams write out draft dossiers on scrolls. In this world Mike Glennon's section on INTANGIBLES would stretch far beyond the N.C. State quarterback's 78½-inch wingspan.
Confidence? The 23-year-old is a devotee of karaoke—even when sober. (His go-to is a falsetto rendition of Frankie Valli's "Can't Take My Eyes Off You.") Toughness? When Glennon was seven, a rough tackle by his 11-year-old brother snapped his collarbone in two—but the first-grader still played flag football the next morning, his parents unaware of the injury. Humility? At Westfield High he was named Virginia's Gatorade player of the year and a Parade All-America, but among his friends the Napoleon Dynamite look-alike never could shake his childhood nickname, Mikey. Calm amid controversy? This is the guy who stepped in when the Wolfpack showed the door to Russell Wilson in 2011 (the same Russell Wilson who would, one year later, as an NFL rookie, lead the Seahawks to a wild-card playoff win). That move wasn't based solely on talent, if you remember. Wilson was also playing minor league baseball for the Rockies and only had a year of NCAA eligibility. But Glennon had two years and a bit of leverage. Having already earned a finance degree, he could have transferred without sitting out his junior season. That would have left the Wolfpack without a QB in 2012, and it forced coach Tom O'Brien's hand.
O'Brien, of course, ended up looking like a genius. While Wilson finished his college career at Wisconsin, Glennon coolly completed 62.5% of his passes for 31 TDs, with just 12 interceptions—all better than his predecessor's junior season stats in Raleigh.
Glennon would complete only 58.5% of his throws as a senior last fall, but that number would've been 66% if not for a staggering 45 balls dropped by receivers. And despite playing behind a porous line that surrendered 39 sacks, eighth most in the country, Glennon still threw for 4,031 yards and 31 TDs. One front office executive whose club needs a franchise passer says, "Glennon is one of my two favorite quarterbacks in this draft. He can make every throw."
So why is it, then, that the Chiefs are not considering Glennon with the first pick, and instead acquired Alex Smith from the 49ers in a February trade? How can it be that the passer who supplanted Wilson, the biggest steal in the 2012 draft, is projected to come off the board no sooner than the second round, perhaps as late as the fourth?
Glennon won't allow TV cameras to document his draft experience because of this uncertainty—even if it has less to do with the 6'7", 225-pounder himself and more to do with the league's latest offensive trend. In 2013, does Mike Glennon fit the mold of an NFL quarterback? Or is he breaking it?
TWO YEARS AGO, this would have all been laughable. The tallest quarterback in this year's draft class, Glennon is the quintessential pocket passer, one who can stretch the field vertically and fit the ball into tight windows, even on throws requiring extra zip toward the sidelines. Coming out of Westfield, he chose N.C. State because of Coach O'Brien, who at Boston College had groomed another classic pocket passer, Matt Ryan, into the No. 3 pick in 2008. When O'Brien first laid eyes on the recruit, he channeled Yogi Berra, saying to himself, "Matt Ryan—déjà vu all over again."
Though Glennon was a starter for only two seasons, several NFL observers told SI he has more upside than Ryan ever showed at BC. (Check the stats: Over their junior and senior years, Glennon had a better passer rating and completion percentage, more TDs and fewer INTs.) But that likely won't be reflected in this year's draft. For the first time since 1996, there's a very real chance that not a single QB will be taken in the first round. No prospect has the once-in-a-generation arm that made Andrew Luck the first pick last April, and none possesses the run-pass versatility that made the No. 2 pick, Robert Griffin III, the model for the next wave of prized NFL quarterbacks.