ESPN's NFL Draft guru Mel Kiper, Jr. held a conference call Wednesday to talk about potential draftees, and he spoke at length about NC State quarterback Mike Glennon. He currently ranks the fifth-year senior as the top signal caller in the draft and the No. 24 overall prospect available in the event.
"Glennon, at 6-foot-5-and-a-half, played for Tom O'Brien and Dana Bible, the same guys who obviously developed Matt Ryan," he said. "They see similar characteristics with Ryan and a guy like this, in terms of Glennon.
"To me, you look at the talent around him — how many dropped balls [were there]? You go back to the games, I looked at six games that NC State played, including their bowl game, and all you saw were drops. You saw a ton of drops in a lot of games."
Despite the lack of help from his pass catchers, Kiper noted that Glennon has all of the physical tools NFL teams are searching for in a field general, which is why he is the only quarterback currently listed on Kiper's Big Board of the top 25 draft-eligible players. Glennon threw for 4,031 yards and 31 touchdowns as a second-year starter in 2012, and became the first Pack passer to tally 30 passing scores in multiple campaigns.
"Glennon moved up [during the season] actually when you started to really watch how many balls were being dropped and what he was dealing with there, in terms of adversity in the pocket, dealing with pressure, dealing with bad down and distance situations that were created by those drops, having to come from behind in games," he said. "They were down 16-0 and he brought them back to beat Florida State. He made some questionable throws against Vanderbilt, which is a very good defensive team, in their bowl game — he threw three picks in that game — but he made some real good throws, as well.
"I think Glennon is the kind of guy that people will look more favorable on because he didn't have the personnel around him."
Kiper has also released his first mock draft and although it currently features a quarterback-less first round, he mentioned that Glennon is a guy who could break into the top 32 selections. The longtime draft analyst mentioned the former Wolfpack standout as a prime candidate for teams that need a passer to trade back into the bottom of the first round to pick.
"He's a guy that can see the field, he's smart, I think he maneuvers well in the pocket, he's very accurate, throws a great ball and he can throw into the tight windows," he said. "I think Glennon is a guy that could emerge. It will be interesting to see Senior Bowl week for him, but he could be a late first round possibility, maybe even a mid-first round possibility."
The one thing that Kiper cautioned is that he think this year's rookie quarterback class is nowhere near last year's group of first-year throwers, which was led by Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin, III and Glennon's former teammate Russell Wilson. However, the class of 2013 will have to deal with the comparisons to their predecessors, no matter how unfair it is.
"They all are going to have chances to become starting quarterbacks at some point," he said. "I don't know if any of these guys are going to be immediately asked to be the starter, like it was with Luck, RG3, Russell Wilson, Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden. I don't know if that will be the case with any of the rookies — maybe it will be with one of them. If they are forced in there, will they be expected to be as good as that [previous] group? They will be. It's unfortunate, but they will be, and I don't think they will live up to it or be that good. They're not in the league with those guys in my opinion."
Kiper also briefly touched on NC State's early NFL Draft entrant, cornerback David Amerson, who the school confirmed Wednesday is no longer taking classes in Raleigh. After setting an ACC record with 13 interceptions last year, the junior struggled this fall. However, he still tied for the league lead with five picks and possesses a rare size and athleticism combination for a cornerback that will tempt NFL squads.
"David Amerson from NC State had a high grade early in the year," Kiper explained. "He was beaten far too much for my liking, and I think for other people's, so he's dropped into that second or third round mix."