As teams hope to replicate the Seahawks’ ability to find a multi-year, sub-million-dollar starting quarterback in the middle rounds of the draft, there’s one guy who could fit the bill in 2014.
LSU’s Zach Mettenberger surely won’t be taken at the top of the process, due to the knee injury he suffered in late November. Via a recent item in the Shreveport Times, the torn ACL wasn’t surgically repaired until early January, because of a torn MCL that first needed to heal.
“I had to wait for that to heal completely for the doctor’s to go in and fix the ACL,” Mettenberger said. “It makes it a quicker recovery. In the long run the MCL will be stronger from healing itself.”
And Mettenberger now has his sights set on working out for scouts before the draft, even if the normal timeline for an ACL recovery is much longer than four months.
“I fully anticipate to be good enough to go and do a five- and seven-step drop for scouts,” Mettenberger said. “I’ve been pushing myself really hard. I’m expecting to be fully healthy in the four- or five-month range. It’s my personal goal.”
It’s a sensible goal, because he could be drafted higher if he can show not only that he’s recovering but also that he’s capable of making NFL throws, in the likely event he’s shelved for 2014 as the knee continues to heal. The end result could be the investment of a mid-to-late-round pick in a guy who can become a viable contributor (and possibly a starter) by his second season.
Helping Mettenberger’s NFL prospects has been LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, a long-time pro coach who landed in Baton Rouge after being fired during the 2012 season by the Ravens.
“It depends on the team, but in most cases Zach is a first-round quarterback,” said Cameron, who worked with Mettenberger to improve his mechanics throughout the 2013 season.
“Everything started happening better for him,” Cameron said. “He was more accurate. The ball came out quicker. He could move in the pocket better with the subtle movements you need. Everything was just streamlined. And the numbers speak for themselves.”
Mettenberger’s history also speaks for itself. He was dismissed from the Georgia program after pleading guilty to a charge of sexual battery.
“It’s something that’s part of my past,” Mettenberger said. “It’s something I’m going to work through and show that I’ve changed as a person. I just have to be truthful about the situation and not try to hide anything. These scouts and [General Managers] will definitely find out the truth one way or another.”
The truth is that everyone is looking for a good quarterback. If a team believes Mettenberger could become a good quarterback, Mettenberger will have a chance to do so at the next level.