As the Buffalo Bills get down to the business of finding their quarterback of the future, among other things, you can bet they’ll be spending a lot of time talking about Mike Glennon from North Carolina State.
Think back to last year’s draft when everyone knew about Andrew Luck and Roberth Griffin III but Texas A and M’s Ryan Tannehill came out of nowhere and not only did he end up in round 1, Tannehill was selected 8th overall by Miami.
I don’t know if he’ll go that high but Glennon seems to be this year’s Tannehill, in terms of a quarterback rising up the draft board and a player who wasn’t mentioned much before the season began.
I’m sure the Bills are very familiar with the 6-6, 232 pound Virginia native since they would have seen him going back to last season while scouting Wolfpack wide receiver T.J. Graham, who the Bills took in the 3rd round last April. My guess is they would have also spoken to former NC State Coach Tom O’Brien(he was fired after the regular season) who has compared Glennon to Matt Ryan. O’Brien coached the Atlanta Falcons quarterback when the two were at Boston College.
Glennon started the last 2 seasons for NC State, taking over when Russell Wilson transferred to Wisconsin. In 2011, Glennon completed 62% of his passes, while throwing for 3054 yards, 31 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
His completion rate dropped to 57% this season but that could be a product of a number of factors, including an inexperienced receiving corps, injuries along the offensive line( NC State used 7 different starting combinations on the line in 12 games) and a propensity for his receivers to drop the football(10 in the North Carolina game alone).
Even though his completion percentage went down, the yardage total went up to 3,648 as Glennon hit on numerous big plays thanks to a very strong arm. He threw 30 touchdowns, 14 interceptions and leaves Raleigh ranked in the top 4 all time in almost every passing category, despite the fact he only started for 2 seasons.
He was very productive even though NC State was one dimensional on offense. Due to an injury and a suspension, the Wolfack got down to their 3rd string running back this season, a true freshman. NC State is ranked 106th in rushing in the FBS out of 120 teams.
I watched NC State’s game against Clemson from November 18th. It was incredibly entertaining as Glennon and Clemson’s Tajh Boyd put on a show. The Tigers won 62-48 in the highest scoring game in Atlantic Coast Conference history.
It started out badly for Glennon as the Pack went 3 and out on their first 2 possessions and were quickly in a 13-0 hole. Then I watched in amazement as Glennon made me dream of big plays to be made by he and his former teammate, Graham while wearing a Bills uniform.
On the very first play of their third possession, Glennon threw a picture perfect deep ball for a 77 yard touchdown. He also did it on the run, sprinting to his right then accurately placing the pass over a cornerback and into the hands of his wide receiver who scampered down the sideline for the score.
Since we have spent a good part of the Bills season talking about Ryan Fitzpatrick’s inability to make plays downfield, I went back on the DVR to see how far the ball traveled in terms of actual air yards. Glennon let loose at his own 19 yard line and it came down at the Clemson 31 so the pass went 50 yards in the air. Remember he did not stop, plant and throw. Glennon made the play on the run.
On the next possession, in the fact the next offensive play for NC State, Glennon and the deep game struck again. This time it was a post route and once again, Glennon threw a perfect pass, over the defensive back and he hit the receiver in stride at the Clemson 10 yard line. The ball traveled 45 yards in the air and it was a strike.
Back to back touchdown passes of 77 yards and 49 yards put NC State in front.
On the next possession, Glennon showed the ability to put together a long drive leading the Wolfpack on a 9 play, 81 yard drive that ended with another touchdown throw. Glennon was hit as he threw but his pass was still on target over the middle of the field and into the end zone. He finished the 1st quarter with 203 passing yards and 3 TD’s.
But the 2nd quarter was a different story for the ACC’s leader in passing yards this season. With NC State now trailing 27-24, Glennon again put together another solid drive including a big gainer on a shovel pass where Glennon showed the ability to side step pressure and turn what looked like a negative play into a positive.
But he made 2 mistakes after that with the first coming on a pass that should have been intercepted. Glennon made a bad decision and threw into double coverage. 2 plays later he made another bad decision, throwing the ball away when he still had time in the pocket. Glennon was called for intentional grounding and the penalty took them out of field goal range.
Later in the half, Glennon under threw a fade pass into the end zone and it was picked off, again costing his team a chance at points. On the next possession he was sacked and had the ball knocked out of his hands and Clemson recovered. They converted the turnover into a touchdown.
Back to the good side of Glennon for one other moment from the game. Faced with a heavy pass rush as Clemson opted to blitz more, Glennon threw a pass off his back foot and yet the ball still traveled 38 yards in the air and was on target. You can tell he has a powerful arm.
Glennon showed the ability to make all of the throws on the field and while he is not a mobile quarterback, there were a number of times where he moved around in the pocket effectively, to buy himself some additional time.
He showed good leadership, not getting down with the early deficit and remained even keeled while his team ripped off 21 points. The game got away from NC State in the 3rd quarter as they fell behind by 24 points but Glennon kept plugging away and showed no signs of frustration on the handful of plays where his receivers dropped the pass.
Glennon, who leaves NC State with both an undergraduate degree in Business Finance and a masters degree in Liberal Studies, will be on display on New Year’s Eve as the Wolfpack play Vanderbilt in the Music City Bowl. It should be a good gauge game if you decide to watch since Vandy plays in the SEC which is a better conference than the ACC and the Commodores have the nation’s 17th ranked defense. I watched Vandy against Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray and Bray had one of his worst games ever.
One other interesting note about Glennon. Last summer he attended the Manning passing academy and along with other qb’s like Bray, Matt Barkley, Tyler Wilson, Geno Smith and Aaron Murray, got a chance to be coached by both Peyton and Eli Manning in 2 throwing sessions.
In addition to the Music City Bowl, Glennon has also been invited to take part in the Senior Bowl next month in Mobile, Alabama.