John Skelton

New Quarterback Same as the Old Quarterback?     Photo: Mark Runyon – Football Schedule

Arizona fans worried about the potential selection of Mike Glennon can perhaps breathe a sigh of relief. Carson Palmer’s acquisition appears done. Unfortunately, the draft scuttlebutt still suggests the Cardinals may be targeting Glennon in the second or third round as a developmental prospect.

Even a superficial study of quarterback projection seems to tell us this is a terrible idea.

Instead of the Palmer delaying tactic, I would have preferred the Cardinals go after Geno Smith or E.J. Manuel. Of course, for Cardinals fans the idea of passing on Smith and drafting Glennon is going to be far more palatable than it would for most fan bases. In fact, not doing it conjures memories of the ill-fated 2006 decision to select Matt Leinart over Jay Cutler.

Cutler is one of the few quarterbacks with weak collegiate peripherals to emerge as a viable NFL starter. Meanwhile, Matt Leinart brought excellent peripherals to the table but ended up as the first in a line of USC system passers. Because of this franchise-defining mistake, Arizona would seem more likely than other teams to prefer Glennon over Smith. In fact, new GM Steve Keim is rumored to have argued for Cutler at the time and been overruled.

Psychologically, humans are predisposed to overrate the meaning in things that 1) happened to them as opposed to somebody else and 2) are easy to create compelling narratives around. Being hyper-aware of the potential for past mistakes to encourage equal but opposite future missteps is a key aspect of successful leadership.

But here’s the thing: the Cardinals have also tried the opposite approach by taking big-armed developmental quarterbacks. Last season Arizona tried two quarterbacks with scouting profiles nearly identical to Mike Glennon.

College Passing Numbers – Final Year Before Drafted

Height Comp % Yards TD INT AYA Velocity
John Skelton 6’6″ 64 3708 26 10 8.6 50
Ryan Lindley 6’4″ 53 3153 23 8 7.3 52
Mike Glennon 6’7″ 59 4031 31 17 6.9 49

 

Skelton’s numbers are easily the best of the group, although he played against lesser competiton at Fordham. Regardless, Glennon’s numbers should worry any Arizona fan a great deal. (The level of competition he faced at North Carolina State was more difficult than that encountered by Skelton or Lindley but well below that of Geno Smith.)

I’ve included Glennon’s ball velocity as recorded by Ourlads to illustrate another potential worry. Skelton and Lindley are considered to have good arms but poor accuracy. It may be that even their arm strength is overrated. Although skepticism about these velocity numbers is warranted, it’s worth noting that most legitimate NFL prospects throw in the 55 mph range. Glennon’s absurdly poor 49 may represent a glitch in the technology being used, or it may offer a simple explanation for his terrible passing numbers in college.

The Cardinals have already released John Skelton, but re-signing him would probably make more sense than wasting a draft pick on a similar player. Adding yet another tall, strong-armed, inaccurate, and poor decision-making quarterback to the equation is a recipe for disaster. If Bruce Arians is a quarterback guru – and he is – then let him work with the birds in the hand.

Arizona’s had an exciting offseason thus far, but the Cardinals still have far too many holes to waste a second round pick on a longshot quarterback. Glennon is often cited as a scheme fit for Arians’ vertical offense, but the first requirement for any NFL quarterback is basic competency. A closer look reveals very little in common between Glennon and the previous signal-callers Arizona’s new coach has tutored.

College Passing Numbers – Final Year Before Drafted

Yds TD Int AY/A TD/INT SOS
Ben Roethlisberger 4486 37 10 9.6 3.7 -3.29
Andrew Luck 3517 37 10 9.4 3.7 3.08
Mike Glennon 4031 31 17 6.9 1.8 -0.77

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