Zach Mettenberger   QB   LSU

TALENT BOARD ROUND  2

STRENGTHS
Zach is a rhythm passer with excellent arm strength and touch to make all the throws needed for the next level. He has good velocity on the ball that makes it easy for the receivers to catch, but make no mistake about it, he has a very strong arm. He shows excellent accuracy when not under pressure and does a good job when given the time to go through his progressions. Zach is a pure pocket passer who will excel in a play-action, vertical offensive system. He has the prototypical size the teams at the next level are looking for and that, along with his strong arm and accuracy in the pocket, will have teams drafting Zach early in this draft. I suspect that his workouts will move him up on most team’s boards.

CONCERNS
Zach has a very slow set-up when he takes his three and five-step drops. Seriously, a one armed person could milk a cow faster than Zach sets up to throw the ball. This means for the next level he will have to speed up his footwork and ball readiness. The problem is once he starts to set up quicker, it may impact his rhythm throwing the ball, which could potentially create accuracy problems until he can get all synced up. However, any changes for Zach may impact his play. He struggles when he is under pressure and, on obvious passing downs, he must line up in shotgun because of his slow feet, which may not be a real problem for most teams, but is something to note. He really is very much like a freshman college quarterback in that he is still learning defenses, progressions and struggles to understand where the pressure is coming from and how to slide in the pocket to combat that pressure and extend a play. In his defense he has improved dramatically this year with a solid offensive line, a very strong running game and wide receivers with excellent NFL talent. Last concern: in the past, Zach has had well documented off field problems and some teams might feel he is not a player they want to be the face of their franchise.

BOTTOM LINE
Zach reminds me a lot of the Panthers 5th pick in the 1995 draft, QB Kerry Collins. Both are rhythm passers with excellent arms, but struggled to speed up their play and still make an accurate throw. Kerry had some success after going from the Panthers to the Saints to the Giants to the Titans, but never the success his athletic talents suggest he would have because of his slow set up and troublesome past that followed him until he learn to deal with both. Zach’s previous issues, including a less than stellar work ethic, has him behind in progressing at the normal pace of a college QB with his talents. His improvement this year is impressive; however, for the next level, that improvement will be limited to the same offensive system he is using at the college level or he will struggle once he is on the field at the next level. Additionally, you cannot discount the off-field issues which means you are drafting a QB who can make all the throws needed to be successful at the next level, but is not athletic enough to extend plays and does not read defense at a level you would expect plus he comes with some baggage that may be a concern, particularly under the pressure of being an NFL quarterback. For me, Zach has a “handle with care” label attached to his game and personal issues.
Drew Boylhart
Dec/2013