Zach Mettenberger has the arm talent of a first-round pick, but he slipped to the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft because of numerous injuries and off-field incidents. The Tennessee Titans are still looking for their franchise quarterback, however, and Mettenberger is in the perfect situation to get a shot at starting under center.
Current first-string quarterback Jake Locker has dealt with multiple injuries since entering the NFL in 2011, and as a result the Titans decided not to pick up his 2015 option for just north of $14 million. This means Locker has just one season to prove himself worthy of a long-term contract, and if he doesn’t it will be Mettenberger who benefits most.
Mettenberger already has the arm strength and accuracy to be a successful NFL quarterback, and although he was considered one of the most NFL-ready signal callers in the draft, he will benefit from the starting the year on the bench as he’s recovering from an ACL tear. However, with Locker missing a combined 14 games the past two seasons, I’d say there’s a high likelihood Mettenberger sees the field and starts at least one regular season game in 2014.
At LSU he was always a threat to hit the deep receiver, which he did multiple times each game, but he also knew when to check down to his running back and displayed good decision making skills when under pressure. Another trait Mettenberger has that’s unique to college quarterbacks is the toughness to stand in the pocket and take a huge hit just to hit an open receiver.
Mettenberger has taken numerous big hits while delivering a strike to his receiver, and despite dealing with both an ACL tear and back spasms during his college career, he has the 6-foot-5, 235-pound frame to be a longtime starter in the NFL. While it’s unlikely he gets a shot to start early in the year, barring injury to Locker that is, Mettenberger is a player who will benefit from a year as the backup and will likely enter next offseason with a chance to win the starting job for the Titans.