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Glenn Carson A Future NFL Special Teamer

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Penn State linebacker Glenn Carson won't be a three-down player in the NFL, but his skills translate nicely to special teams at the pro level. Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images.
Penn State linebacker Glenn Carson won't be a three-down player in the NFL, but his skills translate nicely to special teams at the pro level. Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images.

The hope was that Glenn Carson would shine in his final game as a Nittany Lion, but he continued his downward trend by getting pushed around and recording just one solo tackle against the Badgers.

Carson still was the leader of this year’s Penn State defense, even if he didn’t light up the box score.

A good, two-year starting college linebacker, it’s hard to imagine Carson translating that into an NFL career in which he becomes much more than a special teams contributor.

Carson lacked the athleticism to be put in man coverage at Penn State, so he won’t be a three-down player at the next level. He also seems to be a step slower than most running backs, meaning he also won’t be an effective two-down linebacker in the NFL.

Still, Carson has a shot at making it onto a professional field. He has incredible intangibles as a high-effort player and a disciplined defender, both valuable special teams traits.

His deficiencies can be found on tape, though.

Running backs regularly burst through gaps before Carson could fill them, and he rarely was able to track down ball-carriers outside of the box. The game against Wisconsin was also a prime example of his inability to shed blockers that don’t try to cut him (he's good at avoiding cut blocks).

When Wisconsin’s offensive linemen simply engaged him, the Badgers made him a non-factor in the play.

If Carson wants a shot at being a consistent starter in the NFL, he needs to do two things. First, he has to shed weight and play at about 220 pounds, much like the retired James Farrior did throughout his career with the Jets and Steelers. Farrior played at that weight knowing he’d be giving up 100 pounds to offensive linemen regularly, but it worked because it made him too quick for blockers to engage. Combine his quickness with a knack for reading plays before they happened, and Farrior became an invaluable defensive leader.

Carson also needs to improve his hand work, because he cannot shed many blocks, and that alone could keep him from seeing NFL fields.