Leading up to this month’s NFL Draft, we’ll be taking a look at each ACC‘s school’s prospects and where they’re slated to be chosen. While 50 ACC players were invited to the NFL Draft Combine, those not in attendance also have ample opportunity to hear their name called between April 25 through 27.
Despite some middling returns over the past few years, NC State has managed to produce a significant amount of NFL talent. And the 2012 season was no different, with as many as five players performing well enough to be drafted later this week. While former head coach Tom O’Brien certainly wasn’t the best at getting his team over that seven-/eight-win hump, you can’t say he didn’t groom future pros. It’ll be interesting to see if new coach Dave Doeren, with an unconventional offensive style, manages to replicate those results.
Mike Glennon, QB, Senior (Projected: Late Second Round)
Glennon came into the national spotlight this past October, after guiding the Wolfpack to one of the 2012 season’s early upsets, over then-no. 3 Florida State. Since then, he’s fluctuated mightily on draft boards, hovering around the top five quarterback spots for a weak class at the position. Though there was initially some talk about him leaping into the first round due to his strong arm and ability to read deep routes, he’s got plenty of concerns hampering him as well. At 6’7″ and 225 pounds, there’s concern that his height will be more of a liability, since the large target for tacklers is not strong enough or fast enough (just a 4.94 40-yard dash) to allude quick pass rushers. Additionally, while he certainly can throw the football for distance, there’s more worries on his accuracy. In his senior season, Glennon completed just 58.5 percent of 564 throws for a little over 4,000 yards. He could certainly work his way up a depth chart, but Glennon needs a little work if he’s eventually going to be an NFL starter.
David Amerson, CB, Junior (Projected: Early Third Round)
If you based Amerson’s value purely off his game tape from 2011, he’s a bonafied top-five pick. Lucky for teams picking at the top of the draft, they also get to see his disastrous 2012. Though he’s still a talented corner and certainly a player who can make an impact at the pro level, Amerson’s junior season gave teams several reasons to be concerned. Amerson experienced a drop-off in both tackles and interceptions, partially due to teams failing to target his side of the field as much. In addition — and this is where the worry comes in — he showed himself vulnerable on deep routes in one-on-one coverage, most notably in his first game of the season against Tennessee. His 4.35 40-yard dash time is impressive and exactly what scouts are looking for to pair with his 6’1″ and 215-pound frame. But they’ll need to be confident he can keep up in coverage against the NFL’s faster, taller receivers.
Earl Wolff, SS, Senior (Projected: Late Sixth Round)
Wolff had an impressive senior campaign, carrying a beleaguered NC State secondary on his back en route to an All-ACC first-team selection. A strong tackler who’s quick to react, Wolff excelled at keeping ball carriers in front of him, while exhibiting the type of technique that’s sorely lacking at the pro level of late. What teams are looking for out of him now, however, is an aggression he’s yet to display while in the midst of a play. In particular, he’s easily guided by blockers, and while he’s lean, his size (5’11” and 209 pounds) is a bit small for the safety position. Built more like a corner, he’ll have to prove he’s the right fit at safety, and because of that, he falls a bit further than his collegiate abilities may otherwise indicate.
Tobais Palmer, WR, Senior (Projected: Undrafted)
Palmer is a bit of an enigma for teams, as he doesn’t necessarily fit into any one mold. He has a tendency for big plays and great speed (4.4 40-yard dash time), but he also has a tendency to drop passes and/or be a complete non-factor in the passing game as well. At just 5’11” and 175 pounds, he’s not at all big enough to be a deep option, but without being much of a possession receiver, it’s hard to picture him in the slot either. Regardless of where he plays, the first request will likely be to add some muscle to his frame, lest he get injured too easily by larger defenders. His speed will get him into a camp, but it’ll be up to him to define his role for his new employer.
Zach Allen, OG, Senior (Projected: Undrafted)
Right off the bat, scouts are wary about Allen due to the 2012 ankle injury that sidelined him for nearly the entire season. Aside from that though, he’s been a healthy member of the State offensive line, and a strong presence at the guard position. A hulking 6’2″ and 332 pounds, his center of gravity is a key part of his success along the line, as are his quick feet (5.3 40-yard dash). If teams are grading him on upside, he’ll quickly see himself signed as an undrafted free agent. But there are no sure things for Allen this week.