If it were the 1990s, LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger may be considered one of the top quarterbacks in the draft. He's a classic pocket passer. Whether it's his imposing 6-foot-5 frame or inability to move around the pocket, in every way, Mettenberger is statuesque.
Because of his mobility limitations, not every team will be enamored with Mettenberger. In fact, his best role will be with a team that prefers driving the ball down the field.
Mettenberger has some traits you can't ignore, though. Namely, he has incredible arm strength and will be able to make some throws that other quarterbacks just can't. He also has more experience under center than most quarterback prospects.
Latest Mock Draft
Latest Mock Draft
There are some off-field issues with Mettenberger. He tore his ACL in December, causing him to miss the all-star circuit. Previously, he was dismissed from Georgia in 2010 following a sexual battery incident.
Accuracy: He improved his accuracy from his junior to senior seasons, but also had the fortune of a stellar receiving group that could pull in some bad passes. Mettenberger has the arm strength to complete the ball in tight windows and showed noticeable improvement on timing routes; he learned how to take something off his fastball, so to say.
Arm strength: There is not a throw that Mettenberger doesn't have the arm strength to make look easy. Deep verticals, throws outside the hashes at the sidelines and stick throws all come easy to Mettenberger. That is, when he has the time and clean pocket to throw.
Decision making: Under offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, Mettenberger looked much better in this area in 2013. Mettenberger wasn't holding onto the ball as long despite going through more reads.
Field vision: Mettenberger has shown he can read his keys before the snap – picking up a safety blitz, a mismatch against a linebacker, etc. This is another area where Mettenberger improved working with Cameron. It was evidenced in his improved completion percentage. Mettenberger also seemed to be reading more of the field in 2013. He doesn't drop his eyes in the pocket and continues scanning the field as the play develops.
Mechanics: One of the things Mettenberger may have to work on is his release. On delivery, he drops his arm down and back to sling the ball. Mettenberger's arm strength helps make up for the longer release, but defensive backs can break better on his throws because of the release.
Pocket awareness: From a pocket movement standpoint, you're not going to get a lot out of Mettenberger. While he can roll out to his right, and has taken off on some runs, he doesn't move around much inside the pocket to avoid a rush. He does step up in the pocket, but he doesn't move side to side very well. Mettenberger shows a good feel for pressure, sometimes too good. When a blitz is coming, he'll try to adjust and throw and that will kill his accuracy. But he won't get rattled by being hit.
Final word: For fans of classic big-bodied pocket passers, Mettenberger should be your guy in this year's draft. He has the arm strength to make difficult throws look easy and can deliver throws deep down the field. But his delivery needs hastening and he's not particularly mobile.