2014 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Zach Mettenberger

  • Strong arm
  • Pocket presence
  • Improved decision-making
  • Comes from a pro-style offense
  • Quality game-manager
  • Potential for good field vision
  • Distributes the ball to a variety of weapons
  • Basis for good footwork
  • Improved accuracy

  • Weaknesses:
  • Work-ethic questions, especially early in his career
  • Needs to improve field vision
  • Needs to increase accuracy
  • Needs to improve footwork
  • Tore an ACL late in the 2013 season

  • Summary: It took some time, but eventually Mettenberger started to live up to the hype. He started out his collegiate career at Georgia before transferring to community college. Mettenberger then chose LSU and spent his sophomore season as a backup.

    Mettenberger won the starting job in 2012 and helped lead the Tigers to a 10-3 season. He completed 58 percent of his passes for 2,609 yards with 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions. The junior played poorly in games against Florida, South Carolina and Texas A&M. Despite the signal-caller’s struggles, LSU pulled out tight wins over the latter two. Mettenberger made a statement when he completed 24-of-35 passes for 298 yards and a touchdown against Alabama.

    Before the 2013 season, LSU hired Cam Cameron to be its offensive coordinator, and the veteran NFL coach did a lot to help Mettenberger’s game. He was more accurate and displayed better feet and field vision under Cameron’s direction. Mettenberger became a much greater aerial threat with wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry serving as superb weapons. Mettenberger completed 65 percent of his passes in 2013 for 3,082 yards with 22 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Unfortunately, his season ended early with a torn ACL. That injury shouldn’t hold him back come the training camp of his rookie season.

    Even with the strides he made under Cameron, Mettenberger needs to continue to improve his footwork and accuracy. He also must improve his decision-making for the NFL. It wouldn’t be surprising if Mettenberger has some problems with interceptions early in his career. He is a big-armed pocket passer who is a statue in the pocket. Mettenberger won’t pick up yards with his feet, so he must be efficient with his arm. Mettenberger didn’t generate the reputation as a hard worker in college, and that will need to change in the NFL.

    Entering his senior season, Mettenberger was a mid-round pick, but given the strides he made under Cameron running a pro-style offense, Mettenberger looks like a second- or third-round pick. He will need some development, but he has the skill set to develop into a starting quarterback.

    Player Comparison: Carson Palmer. Mettenberger won’t get drafted nearly as early as Palmer, but they have a similar style of play. Both are big pocket passers who don’t offer much mobility. Palmer (6-5, 235) has had a solid NFL career after being the first-overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft. If Mettenberger pans out in the NFL, he could be a quarterback in the same mold as Palmer.

    NFL Matches: Houston, Jacksonville, Cleveland, Oakland, Tampa Bay, Minnesota, Detroit, Green Bay, Chicago, Baltimore, Cincinnati, New Orleans, New England, St. Louis

    There are a lot of ton of teams who could consider Mettenberger. Some of the teams that need a long-term starter could target an elite talent early in the first round and a player like Mettenberger on Day 2.

    The Texans need a starting quarterback for Bill O’Brien, and Mettenberger’s pocket passing could appeal to the rookie head coach. The Jacksonville Jaguars could consider Mettenberger on Day 2 to be their starter of the future if they address another position in the first round.

    Cleveland needs a new quarterback and has a lot of second-day picks. Oakland brought in Matt Schaub so the organization may wait on a quarterback. Mettenberger could make sense for the Raiders in the third round.

    Tampa Bay is expected to draft a quarterback even though the team signed Josh McCown. Lovie Smith has been partial to game managers in the past, and Mettenberger could fit his defensive-led team.

    Minnesota also is looking for a new quarterback. If Mike Zimmer wants to pattern the Vikings after the way the Bengals were built, the new head coach could look for an Andy Dalton-like quarterback on Day 2 – Mettenberger would fit that.

    There is a huge group of teams that could consider Mettenberger as a long-term backup option via the second day. Both Detroit and Chicago lost their backup quarterbacks in free agency. Mettenberger could be selected as a replacement for either franchise.

    New England and New Orleans could draft Mettenberger on Day 3 to backup their Hall of Fame quarterbacks. The Packers were hurt by their backups in 2013, so Mettenberger could be brought in as backup competition. Cincinnati could use a backup to Andy Dalton, too. Baltimore is said to want an upgrade at backup quarterback, and Mettenberger would provide some scheme continuity behind Joe Flacco. St. Louis could use a backup option behind Sam Bradford.


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