Quarterbacks with Zach Mettenberger‘s skill set aren’t typically available in the sixth round. But the Tennessee Titans just selected a passer who can make every throw the NFL requires with pick No. 178 overall.
Now, there is definitely a reason why Mettenberger was still on the board so late in the draft. He didn’t exactly live up to his potential at LSU despite throwing to NFL-caliber receivers, like Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, and behind one of the nation’s top offensive lines. He never exhibited the proper instincts before or after the snap. Unlike elite passers who go through their progressions, Mettenberger stared down his intended target from time to time as well, which is something he can’t afford to do at the next level.
Most discouragingly, Mettenberger enters the league as a huge question mark from a character perspective. Mettenberger has a troubling history of alleged alcohol and drug use and was arrested in March 2010. If there’s one position where character issues don’t fly, it’s quarterback. A quarterback needs to be a leader and potentially the face of the franchise. Can Mettenberger be either? It would be difficult to believe so with any real confidence.
Players can turn their life around, though. It’s never too late for the metaphorical light bulb to turn on his peronsal life. Contrarily, there’s no acquiring an NFL arm without being born with that ability. Mettenberger has one, and could become competition for Jake Locker in Tennessee with development. Locker is entering the final year of his contract and needs to have his best year yet to keep his starting role. If he doesn’t perform, the door will open for Mettenberger to steal the show.
Mettenberger is a low-risk/high-reward acquisition by the Titans. There isn’t anything wrong with rolling the dice on him this late in the draft. He has the potential to become a true steal at the game’s most important position, but has an awful lot to prove.
Cody Strahm is an NFL author for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @CodyJStrahm.