If you want consistency, look no further than Glenn Carson. The former four star recruit out of Manahawkin, New Jersey was an integral part of the Penn State defense for the last three seasons as the force in the middle of the field. Since taking over the MIKE job in 2011, Carson has always been reliable name in the middle of the defense. He's not a turnover machine, and he's not a speedster who will flash from sideline to sideline in the blink of an eye. What he is though, is a sure tackler and a field general, which is very important in today's NFL.
Carson's Penn State career began with about as easy of a transition into a starting role as you can get. Sure, he was thrust into the starting lineup as the middle linebacker of Linebacker U, but he also had two all time Penn State greats flanking him on either side. Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges were not only the stars of the linebacking corps, but the stars of the defense during Carson's first two years in the middle. While those two accounted for the interceptions, the fumbles, the sacks, and the excitement, Carson just went along on his way, handling what he was assigned to handle. He plugged up the middle on runs, and he helped out in coverage. He made the tackles he was supposed to make, and he very rarely made costly mistakes. His name wasn't being screamed over the loudspeakers of Beaver Stadium, rather it was used calmly. The phrase "Glenn Carson on the tackle" has become nearly as common as "We Are" for Penn State fans over the last few years.
I imagine that it would be difficult to find many people who name Glenn Carson as their favorite football player outside of the Carson household, but who cares? Carson's used to it. He's used to not being the star, rather getting his work done and helping the team in more ways than someone outside of the team would care to observe. He'll work hard. He'll study the game. He'll make the tackles. He'll be a leader. He won't let you down.
NFL.com says that Carson is a "Productive college linebacker lacking special traits for the pro game" and will be a priority un-drafted free agent. CBS Sports says he'll be picked in the sixth-seventh round. These opinions are likely shared by many NFL GM's, but that doesn't mean they're right. Carson will be a 6th round pick at best, that much you can pretty safely set in stone. But as so many other Penn State linebackers have shown before, it's not where you start, but where you end up. Carson will fight his way onto your team's roster. He'll be a popular special teams player. He'll be the backup linebacker that everyone wants to see get some meaningful snaps. When he finally does crack the starting lineup, you won't hear his name on the big, momentum-shifting plays. You'll hear it in the seemingly mundane plays that consist of the running back running for a 3 yard gain before meeting a wall, or the tight end catching a pass for four yards. That's where Glenn Carson will make his living, and he seems to be just fine with that.
So the real question surrounding Glenn Carson is this: Do you want a guy who will happily man the middle of your field and make all of the plays he's expected to make, or do you not? That's what I thought.