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2014 NFL Draft: New England Patriots Should Select Zach Mettenberger

Zach Mettenberger

Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

On Feb. 9 I wrote that the New England Patriots should trade backup QB Ryan Mallet. For all of the reasons I outlined in that article, I still think the Patriots should trade Mallet and I believe they ultimately will. But that does create a question that needs to be answered.

Who should the Patriots get to replace Mallet?

Three words.

Draft Zach Mettenberger.

Yes, he comes with a little baggage, but Mettenberger could be what the Patriots need.

Mettenberger, 6-foot-5 and 229-pounds, played college football at LSU after a brief and rocky time at Georgia and a year in junior college. He signed with Georgia in 2009, but in March 2010 he was arrested outside of a local bar after he allegedly grabbed the breasts and buttocks of a woman. Mettenberger was also charged with underage consumption and possession of alcohol, possessing fake identification and disorderly conduct-obstruction. The situation was ultimately resolved with Mettenberger pleading guilty to two counts of misdemeanor sexual battery and the alcohol related charges being dropped. He was sentenced to two concurrent, 12-month probationary periods under the state of Georgia’s first-offender act. Mettenberger also had to pay $2,000.00 in fines and do 40 hours of community service.

Mettenberger talked about how the entire thing was completely out of character for him and that it was a low point of his life. From what I’ve seen he has learned from the experience and become a better person.

After this entire saga, Mettenberger headed to Butler Community College in Kansas to try to repair his image. There he threw for 2,678 yards, 32 touchdowns and only four interceptions as he led Butler to an 11-1 record and the JUCO national championship game.

Mettenberger then joined LSU, but he did not start right away even though many wanted him to. LSU head coach Les Miles wanted to make sure his head was right and kept him away from reporters. Mettenberger never complained and said that he learned a lot from sitting and watching Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee play QB, and he knew his time would come.

In Mettenberger’s junior year at LSU he threw 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions. But then former Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron helped him make some adjustments and the fifth-year senior became one of the top QBs in college football. In 2013 Mettenberger improved dramatically throwing 22 touchdowns and eight interceptions before tearing his ACL in LSU’s comeback win over the Arkansas Razorbacks in LSU’s final regular season game on Nov. 29.

I respect that Mettenberger learned from his mistake and did what he needed to do to get his football career back on track. He didn’t complain about having to sit at LSU and instead worked hard and learned from the other QBs. He also accepted help from Cameron and gave him credit for his improvement and flourished as a result.

Mettenberger will most likely not be drafted in the first round of this year’s draft and could potentially be available in the second or third round. He is exactly the kind of player the Patriots and head coach Bill Belichick like — talented, low-maintenance, tough and a hard worker. In addition, Mettenberger has the physical tools needed to succeed in the NFL.

I hate to think about Tom Brady not being under center for the rest of eternity, but Brady will be gone and the Patriots need to be ready. Mettenberger learning from Brady and then being ready to step in and take over would be a great scenario.

Justin Patrick is a New England Patriots writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @calling_allfans, like him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.