When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Mike Glennon in this year’s NFL Draft, they set off alarms everywhere in Tampa Bay and across the league about the job security of Josh Freeman. Then Greg Schiano’s inability to use precision coach-speak landed him more drama, as he was believed to have told the media that he was okay with Glennon starting, which turned into an easy article for sensational media members, proclaiming that Freeman was set to lose his job to the rookie from NC State. Then just a few hours ago, Pewter Plank staff writer Michael gave us this article, calling Mike Glennon a “wasted pick.”
So allow me to set the record straight once again, with another edition of Point Plank…
Mike Glennon was the right pick for the Buccaneers in the 3rd round of the 2013, and it follows a trend set by the most successful teams in the NFL over the past few seasons. Take just a moment, and consider the following draft picks over the past few seasons:
- In 2012, the Denver Broncos selected Brock Osweiler in the second round of the NFL Draft.
- In 2011, the Houston Texans selected TJ Yates in the fifth round of the NFL Draft.
- In 2011, the New England Patriots selected Ryan Mallett in the third round of the NFL Draft.
- In 2012, the Washington Redskins selected Kirk Cousins in the fourth round of the NFL Draft.
- In 2006, the San Diego Chargers selected Charlie Whitehurst in the third round of the NFL Draft.
- In 2013, the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Landry Jones in the fourth round of the NFL Draft.
- In 2012, the Philadelphia Eagles selected Nick Foles in the third round of the NFL Draft.
- In 2013, the New York Giants selected Ryan Nassib in the fourth round of the NFL Draft.
Of the quarterbacks listed above, three got the opportunity to play thanks to an injury to the quarterback ahead of them. Of the quarterbacks above, at least four are sitting behind quarterbacks who are unquestionably better than Josh Freeman (Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Tom Brady, and Robert Griffin III), with almost any of the other starters being able to argue they are at least as good as Josh Freeman. Of the quarterbacks listed above, at least four have been named in trade talks which would have brought valuable assets back to the team that took a chance on them in the Draft.
In other words, there is lots of potential value in a backup quarterback. So much value that the teams listed above took the opportunity to select one in the middle rounds of the NFL Draft, when there may have been other positions of “more pressing” need. So what draws teams to bring in a backup QB?
In the case of the Eagles, Broncos, and Patriots, the reason is obvious. Aging starting QB’s with injury histories are the perfect situation for selecting a backup in the middle rounds and developing them on the bench. In the case of Nick Foles, he got a chance early on to prove himself on the field, and he was useful to his franchise in the face of injury to the starter ahead of him.
And as for the Texans, Redskins, Steelers, and Giants, they chose to select a backup quarterback behind a guy who is clearly the franchise QB option. They found a player who was rated highly on their draft board, and provided them a talent upgrade at an important position. And with the Redskins, we got to see Cousins stepping in due to injury, validating the Redskins for what many saw as a confusing or downright wasteful draft strategy.
When the news broke about Mike Glennon’s contract finally being signed, I discussed yet another positive of selecting a backup QB in the NFL Draft. Glennon’s contract is outrageously affordable over the next four years, meaning that whether he takes over for Josh Freeman at some point, or if he just holds clipboards for a few years, he’s more than worth the bargain contract he’s signed. So securing the particular QB the team wanted in the third round made tons of sense.
So why Glennon in particular?
The Buccaneers’ current offensive scheme is based on having a quarterback who can “make all the throws” and has a strong arm from the pocket. Mike Sullivan‘s offense is all about big plays down the field, which suits Josh Freeman quite well, and also suits Mike Glennon. Glennon offers the same ideal upside as Josh Freeman, which was a point of contention for many Buccaneer fans, who would have preferred Matt Barkley or Landry Jones to give a different option on the bench. But it’s Glennon’s similarities to Freeman that make him the perfect choice.
If Josh Freeman fails to pan out, it will have nothing to do with him being a big, strong-armed quarterback with accuracy issues in college. It will have everything to do with Josh Freeman failing to develop into a successful NFL quarterback. Mike Glennon would provide another chance to build up the kind of quarterback that Mike Sullivan wants to run his offense, and he has the pedigree and potential to become the perfect QB for this system. As we mentioned after the draft, he has some of the best arm strength and arm talent of the rookies in this draft class, with certain experts declaring that he had the best arm in the draft.
So I believe that selecting Mike Glennon was far from a wasted pick for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He’s got potential to grow into a starting quarterback if the situation presents itself, and he’s got the cheap contract needed to sit on the bench and watch Josh Freeman go to work as well. So rather than wasting a pick on further clogging the logjam at tight end, or drafting depth at any other position on the field, the Buccaneers chose to provide a bit of security and depth at the most important position on offense. And I think that’s a very wise decision.