Heading into Saturday’s night game between LSU and Georgia, a ton of attention was paid to the matchup of the team’s quarterbacks. This was because Zach Mettenberger and Aaron Murray were formerly roommates at Georgia before Mettenberger was dismissed from the team, and are now fighting against each other for the opportunity to potentially win a national championship.
But to say that this game was only a matchup for college football supremacy wouldn’t do justice to the the big picture, as this game was also an early battle for the 2014 NFL Draft.
After watching both quarterbacks go off in a 44-41 Georgia win, it was utterly apparent that both quarterbacks did an incredible job picking apart opposing secondaries. But while both did great, what stuck out throughout the game was that Mettenberger looks like the quarterback of NFL front offices’ dreams, and could very well be the no. 1 pick in 2014.
For the entirety of the game on Saturday night, Mettenberger went 23-of-37 passing for 372 yards, three touchdowns and most importantly no interceptions. This brought his statistics for the entirety of the 2013 season to: 82-of-128 passing, 1398 yards, 13 touchdowns, and one interception. To say that this is a Heisman Trophy-worthy line would be an understatement.
More than just great statistics though, Mettenberger has looked like a guy who is ready to make the step up to the next level after his college football career ends. He is the model pocket passer, and at 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, he has the size and strength that is necessary to stand in pocket and take hits while delivering the ball.
And boy, can Mettenberger deliver the ball.
Throughout the 2013 season, and specifically against Georgia, he showed the ability to put the ball into a tight window with the velocity of an NFL quarterback, as well as to put finesse on balls that need it. While being a pocket passer may seem unappealing to fans who are falling in love with the Robert Griffin IIIs and Cam Newtons of the world who are great threats out of the pocket, the facts are that pocket passers generally last longer in the NFL.
Front offices around the league realize this, and as a result generally pick big quarterbacks who are effective while staying in the pocket earlier in the draft than their more mobile brethren. This tendency to draft effective pocket passers early will bode well for Mettenberger as he heads toward the NFL Draft, and more performances like Saturday night could result in him going number one overall.