Nick Fitzgerald could be polarizing evaluation for NFL scouts

Our analysts are constantly talking to NFL and college sources about players in the college game. This week, analyst Lance Zierlein shares some of what NFL folks are saying about a rising QB and one of college football's top left tackles.

The scoop: Mississippi State QB Nick Fitzgerald is creating buzz around the college football world as he's guided the Bulldogs to 3 straight blowout wins to open the season, but there's not yet a clear consensus in the scouting community about how his game will translate to the next level.

The skinny: Given Fitzgerald's production through his first 3 games (783 total yards, 12 total TDs), it isn't a reach to suggest his name could pop into Heisman discussions very soon. He has another opportunity to impress on a big stage Saturday at Georgia. Fitzgerald has posted 7 passing and 5 rushing TDs (more total TDs than Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold have thus far) with only one interception. He's averaging 7.8 yards per pass attempt and 7.7 yards per rush.

His head coach, Dan Mullen, has a history of developing pro QBs, as he coached Alex Smith, Dak Prescott and Tim Tebow at the college level. At 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, some teams might look at Fitzgerald as a bigger, faster version of Tebow. While Fitzgerald's accuracy as a passer can be very spotty, one scout I spoke to said Fitzgerald showed improvement in that area in Mississippi State's 37-7 win over LSU in Week 3. He's big and fast, but I'm still not sold on him as a passer, and there are other evaluators who are still in wait-and-see mode with me as it pertains to his draft stock.

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The scoop: "I thought (Mike) McGlinchey played a lot better against Boston College than he did against Georgia, but that Georgia game bothers me." -- NFC regional scout on the Notre Dame left tackle

The skinny: After going back and studying McGlinchey's performance against Georgia, I didn't come away as down on him as others in the scouting community. It's worth noting that I had McGlinchey as the No. 5 offensive lineman to watch this season -- I might have had a more conservative opinion than some others on his draft stock heading into the season.

McGlinchey had a couple of issues with the leverage and strength of Georgia's Jonathan Ledbetter at the point of attack and he also had a couple of missteps in dealing with a twist and an edge rush at one point. I still saw a player who did a solid job of mirroring and using good technique with his hands. McGlinchey is a good player, but I don't see him as an elite tackle, and my guess is that others will come around to that conclusion. He will be more likely to have issues with power than speed at the next level.

Follow Lance Zierlein on Twitter @LanceZierlein.

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