by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
The news broke recently that the Tennessee Titans are turning the page, inserting sixth round draft pick Zach Mettenberger into the starting lineup. We all knew that Charlie Whitehurst wasn’t the answer and, while Jake Locker could ultimately return to the starting role, injuries have continued to plague him and he’s generally failed to produce.
Mettenberger made huge strides in his senior season at LSU, throwing for 3,082 yards, 22 TD and 8 INT. Here’s what Walter Football had to say about the year and improvements he made:
“Before the 2013 season, LSU hired Cam Cameron to be its offensive coordinator, and the veteran NFL coach did a lot to help Mettenberger’s game. He was more accurate and displayed better feet and field vision under Cameron’s direction. Mettenberger became a much greater aerial threat with wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry serving as superb weapons. Mettenberger completed 65 percent of his passes in 2013 for 3,082 yards with 22 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Unfortunately, his season ended early with a torn ACL.”
It sounds positive and the experience in an NFL-style offense certainly helps. However, that’s not to say that there aren’t concerns. His mobility, accuracy and footwork were commonly mentioned as potential issues heading into the NFL.
The Titans have allowed 18 sacks this season, tied for seventh most in the league. For a rookie quarterback with mobility questions, that’s certainly going to be a storyline to watch. Even worse, though, NFL.com said prior to the draft:
“Heavy-footed with a long delivery, which translates to the pocket closing on him quickly when he moves and is forced off a spot. Takes unnecessary sacks and is rattled easily under duress. Really labors to hasten his release and get rid of the ball quickly when needed. Has tunnel vision and arms the ball too much.”
That’s not a recipe for success, especially for a team that also hasn’t run the football all that well. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Mettenberger struggle early on, especially as defenses try to pressure and rattle him.
There clearly is upside and he does have weapons he can work with including Kendall Wright, Justin Hunter and Delanie Walker. In two-quarterback formats (or dynasty/keeper leagues) Mettenberger’s worth stashing to see if he can develop into a viable option. While there likely will be some growing pains, by year’s end he could develop. Walter Football compared him to Carson Palmer and, while that’s not elite, it’s certainly usable.
In one-quarterback leagues don’t even bother. Quarterback is a deep position and there’s simply no reason to trust Mettenberger.
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com, Walter Football
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