According to NFL Network's Albert Breer, the Oakland Raiders are scheduled to meet with Zach Mettenberger on Wednesday. While the Raider's trade for Matt Schaub indicates that they will not target a quarterback until the later rounds of the draft, history shows that might not be the case.
In 2005, the Green Bay Packers selected Aaron Rodgers with the 24th overall pick. It was viewed as bad selection because the Packers already had Brett Favre. But Tedd Thompson (Packers' General Manager) and Reggie McKenzie (Packers' director of player personnel) both realized that while Favre had a few good years left, it was time to plan for the future.
After learning under Favre for three years, Rodgers was named the starting quarterback in 2008. Fast-forward six years and Rodgers is now one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. The lesson to be learned is that it is smart to draft a quarterback in the first round and sit him for a couple of years. But Reggie McKenzie does not need to be taught that lesson because he is the teacher.
Silver and Black Pride's Lead Editor Levi Damien brought up a good point.
If you think #Raiders will be drafting with a "win now" mentality, you'd be wrong. That's what they used free agency for. Draft is long term
— Levi Damien (@LeviDamien) April 7, 2014
According to both McKenzie's history and Damien's theory, it is quite possible that the Raiders will target a quarterback early in the draft. One name that has drawn attention is former LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger. ESPN's Ron Jaworski recently ranked Mettenberger the number two quarterback in the draft.
Mettenberger originally signed with the University of Georiga. But after pleading guilty to sexual battery and alcohol consumption, he was kicked off the team.
Mettenberger transferred to Butler Community College for the 2010 season. After a sensational year in which he threw for 2,678 yards and 32 touchdowns, Mettenberger was offered a scholarship to play at LSU.
In 2012, Mettenberger was named the starter at LSU. He led the Tigers to a 10-3 record including three wins over Top 25 teams. Mettenberger finished the season with a total of 2,609 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Last year as a fifth-year senior, Mettenberger established himself as a premier quarterback in college football throwing for 3,082 yards and 22 touchdowns. He was viewed as a first round lock until he tore his ACL and MCLagainst Arkansas in the final game of the season.
While Mettenberger has impressive stats, does he have the tools to become a successful quarterback in the NFL?
Listed at 6'5" and 224 lbs, Zach Mettenberger has prototypical size for an NFL quarterback. The only other top quarterback that rivals his frame in the draft is Blake Bortles (6'5", 232 lbs). Mettenberger's size provides many benefits. He should have no trouble seeing over the mammoth offensive lineman in the NFL and because of his build, Mettenberger should be able to take hits and stay durable.
Zach Mettenberger has the strongest arm of any quarterback in the 2014 NFL Draft. Former number one overall pick Tim Couch told FoxSports.com "I think he has probably the strongest arm in the draft out of all the quarterbacks. There's always going to be a place in the NFL for a guy who can stand in the pocket and throw it. It's always going to come down to that. At the end of the day, it's good to be able to move around, it's good to be able to do those things, but if you can't consistently make throws in the pocket, you can't play in the NFL."
LSU Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron said during a phone interview "I saw great arm talent. He was very similar to guys I'd been around. He's better than some that were really good." Cameron has coached Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, Joe Flacco and Trent Green.
Mettenberger's rocket arm can make any throw on the field look easy.
This is Mettenberger's weakest category. He has heavy feet and moves slow in the pocket. When rushed, Mettenberger does not have the speed to evade defenders and will often look to throw the ball away as a result. While good athleticism is not a necessity, it is certainly a benefit. Offensive Coordinators will not be able to call many bootlegs or option plays under Mettenberger.
While Zach Mettenberger had a respectable completion percentage in 2013 (64.9 %), he only has decent accuracy. Those stats are highly inflated by Mettenberger's surrounding talent. Both Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. will be picked in the first three rounds. Mettenberger also had Jeremy Hill to checkdown to. The biggest aspect Mettenberger can improve on is toning down short throws. Because of his rocket arm, he tends to overthrow receivers. Mettenberger's accuracy needs to improve if he wants to be successful in the NFL.
This is another major concern with Zach Mettenberger. When blitzed, Mettenberger needs to show better surroundings. When the pocket collapses, he does not resettle properly. Mettenberger has room to improve at identifying blitzes during his pre-snap reads. He has a bad habit of staring down receivers, instead of completely scanning his reads. While he has improved his decision making from 2012, he still makes risky throws.
Mettenberger was arrested in 2010 on charges of sexual battery and alcohol consumption. As a result of the arrest, Mettenberger was kicked off Georgia's football team. According to CBSSports.com's Dane Bugler, "He has a history of recreational drug use and overall immaturity, but has grown and stayed clean the past two seasons at LSU."
Zach Mettenberger tore his ACL and MCL against Arkansas in the final game of the season. He did not have surgery on his ACL until January 2nd because his MCL had to heal first. In an interview with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Cam Cameron indicated that Mettenberger is recovering at a quick pace: "I'm not saying he's Adrian Peterson, but he's going to be close," Cameron said. "With technology today and you add his work ethic, he may be one of those guys who's better off and has more knee stability now."
Mettenberger was pleased with his recovery: "I'm progressing very fast," Mettenberger said. "I'm walking normally and doing a lot of stuff for rehab and workouts. Most people don't think I'd be able to do what I'm doing. My injury is moving along very quickly. Hopefully I can stay on that course."
Mettenberger's recovery will be crucial in determining his draft stock. His first public performance since the injury will take place at LSU's Pro Day on Wednesday. Silver and Black Pride will cover the anticipated event.
Pro Comparison: Joe Flacco
There is no question that Zach Mettenberger has an incredible combination of size and arm strength, but that is where the praise stops. The two most important qualities a quarterback can have are accuracy and pocket presence; Mettenberger struggles at both. Add in injury and off-field concerns and Mettenberger becomes a risky selection. The Raiders would be better off taking Jimmy Garoppolo, Aaron Murray or Derek Carr in the second round.