With the 2011 NFL season in the books, it's time to turn our eyes to the NFL draft, and the pre-draft evaluation process. Before and after the 2012 scouting combine, we'll be taking a closer look at the 50 draft-eligible players who may be the biggest NFL difference-makers when all is said and done.
We continue this year's series with Georgia guard-tackle Cordy Glenn. Glenn was one of my favorite players during Senior Bowl practices. Every day, when the South offensive line squared off against the defensive line, all of the scouts, coaches and reporters congregated into the end zone to have the most fun you can have in Mobile on a January weekday afternoon. Glenn lined up against Quinton Coples, Brandon Thompson, or some other elite defender, and then … CRACK! And an echo of the crack through the neighborhoods. It sounded like a transforming blowing at a power station. Then some shoving and growling before the players lined up for the next rep. Who the heck would want to watch Nick Foles flutter passes around when that was going on?
When he hit the scouting combine, things became even more interesting for Glenn. He ran a 5.15 40-yard dash with a 1.76 10-yard split, and though he was far less impressive in other drills (near the bottom of the pack in vertical leap, broad jump, 3-cone drill, and shuttle), that 40 time had a lot of people re-assessing Glenn and heading back to the tape to see where the speed/size combo put him among other draftable offensive linemen.
Glenn's scouting report is simple, because his game is simple: "Big man hit hard smash other big man." The question that will decide his future is whether NFL scouts see a right tackle or a guard. If teams think Glenn can play tackle, he will go in the top half of the first round. As a guard, even as a likely Pro Bowl guard, he may have to wait a little longer.
Pros: The 346-pound Glenn looks big, even when standing next to other offensive line prospects. When he walked into the combine for his interviews, reporters who have covered the draft for years (and who had been talking to guys like Matt Kalil all day) did a double-take. Glenn stands out on tape because he is physically wider and more massive than everyone else.
So, to summarize: big.
Glenn has the strength to go with that size, and as you would expect, he consistently hammers defenders and drives them off the line in the running game. Glenn does have some agility, and when the Bulldogs moved him to left tackle, he showed the speed to get out of his stance and backpedal to stop speed rushers. He pull blocks fairly well and can reach linebackers on the second level.
Glenn is an ornery dude, and he will finish blocks with authority and a little bit of extracurricular business. There are scouting reports that claim he has a hot-and-cold motor, but everything I have seen suggests hot, except when he is forced to play out of position.
Cons: Glenn is no technician, and he will pop straight up when pass protecting, or he will lunge and leave his feet when a defender beats him with speed. Glenn did a lot of things right during his tenure as a left tackle, but there were times that he was beaten with inside moves or got confused by blitzes. He lacks the athleticism and technique to be a good blindside defender in the NFL.
Conclusion: Glenn looks like a Cowboys guard from the 1990s glory days: Look closely and you see Nate Newton. Put him in a simple offense and let him drive block and pass protect, and he will open holes and wear out defenders. The Cowboys can still use guards in Glenn's mold, as can the Norv Turner Chargers and vertical passing teams like the Eagles.
Slide Glenn to right tackle, and you have a mauler who will sometimes need help in pass protection. He could develop into a Jon Runyan-type at right tackle, though that may be ambitious because Runyan had better fundamentals and was a step quicker in his prime. Still, you get the general idea: lots of jarring hits, a little unnecessary roughness.
NFL Comparison: David Stewart, Tennessee Titans
More Shutdown 50:
#21: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa | #22: Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford | #23: Devon Still, DT, Penn State | #24: Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama | #25: Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State| #26: Nick Perry, DE, USC | #27: Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska | #28: Dontari Poe, DT/DE, Memphis | #29: Whitney Mercilus, OLB/DE, Illinois | #30: Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson| #31, Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson| #32: Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford| #33: Bobby Massie, OT, Mississippi| #34: Andre Branch, DE/OLB, Clemson | #35: Dont'a Hightower, ILB, Alabama | #36: Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse| #37: Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech | #38: Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall| #39: Doug Martin, RB, Boise State | #40 : Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers| #41: Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina| #42: Lavonte David, OLB, Nebraska| #43: Jared Crick, DE/DT, Nebraska| #44: Alshon Jeffrey, WR, South Carolina | #45: Kirk Cousins, QB, Michigan State| #46: Orson Charles, TE, Georgia| #47: Lamar Miller, RB, Miami| #48: Shea McClellin, OLB/DE, Boise State| #49: Rueben Randle, WR, LSU | #50: Jonathan Massaqoui, OLB/DE, Troy