MOBILE, Ala. — Questioning former N.C. State quarterbacks about their size has become a rite of mid-winter in lower Alabama.
Last year the Senior Bowl buzz was that Russell Wilson was too small to succeed in the NFL. This year critics are wondering whether Mike Glennon is too tall.
The long and short of it: Glennon isn’t worried about his height hurting his draft status.
“I didn’t miss one snap my two years of starting from injury,” Glennon said Monday following the first day of practices. “I know they hit harder in the NFL. But I’m a tough guy, and I didn’t miss any time. As far as too tall, I don’t think that will be a problem.”
Moments after Glennon checked in at nearly 6-foot-7 inches and 220 pounds at Monday’s weigh-in, armchair personnel directors filled the Twitterverse with opinions about how Glennon would be sawed in half the first time he’s hit by a blitzing linebacker.
“I’ve heard it my whole life,” Glennon said.
Glennon spoke to a reporter as he walked toward the bus from an autograph session after the North team’s practice. In cleats, Glennon was closer to 6-8.
Glennon, listed at 232 before his fifth year at N.C. State, is trying to gain back the weight he lost during the season. He’s also trying to step to the head of a quarterback class most experts believe is lacking.
Although there is not a Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck or Cam Newton headlining it, NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock does not see this as a weak class.
“The way I look at it, it’s a wide-open derby,” Mayock said. “And because of the need at that position, by the end of the day there’s still going to be three or four first-round quarterbacks.”
Mayock said Glennon is among a group of nine quarterbacks who could ascend to the top by demonstrating more consistency.
The list includes the other five quarterbacks in Mobile – Oklahoma’s Landry Jones, Florida State’s E.J. Manuel, Arkansas’ Tyler Wilson, Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib and Miami of Ohio’s Zac Dysert – as well as Southern Cal’s Matt Barkley, West Virginia’s Geno Smith and Tennessee’s Tyler Bray.
Said Glennon: “I realize there’s a big opportunity here for all of us, for myself to prove that I belong at the next level at a high level.”
Mayock said Glennon’s clutch performance in a 17-16 upset of Florida State – when Glennon completed 19 of 32 fourth-quarter passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns, and had three fourth-down conversions on the game-winning drive – was as good as any last season.
“I like Glennon,” Mayock said. “He reminds me a little bit of Joe Flacco. He’s got a big arm. He can make every throw. He can be a little awkward in the pocket. He makes too many mistakes.
“But that kind of summarizes the entire quarterback class. You get all excited, you see first-round talent. But you don’t see consistency. I think that’s the biggest issue with the quarterbacks that are here.”
Glennon, whose brother Sean was a Virginia Tech quarterback, ended his college career with a dud. He was intercepted three times in a 38-24 loss to Vanderbilt in the Music City Bowl – his third game with three or more picks.
But offsetting his 17 interceptions were Glennon’s 4,031 passing yards and 31 touchdowns. He is the only quarterback in ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr.’s current list of top 25 prospects.
“I definitely need to make some better decisions with the ball. But we also threw the ball a ton this year. I threw over 500 times,” said Glennon, who believes his greatest asset is his arm strength.
“I can put the ball just about anywhere,” he said. “It comes off my hand real well.”
Wilson, who played his final season at Wisconsin, did the same last year – before the third-round pick led Seattle to a playoff victory and put himself in position for the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
“He did great. He’s a great guy, works really hard,” said Glennon, who stays in touch with Wilson via text messages. “I’m just real happy for his success.”
It was no small feat.