TSV Scouting Department

Zach Mettenberger

Report Prepared By James MacPherson

Zach Mettenberger Photo: ESPN

Breakdown:

#8
Class: Senior
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 230 lbs.
School: Louisiana State
Bio:
  • Two year starter (2013, 2012)
  • Nearly doubled his TD output in one fewer game - 22 TD as a senior (2013)
  • Won ten games and threw for 2,609 yards and 12 TD as a junior (2012)
  • Started his career at Georgia but was dismissed due to violation of team rules.  Then he went to Butler Community College before heading to LSU.

**Tore his ACL and MCL in LSU's last regular season game of the year

**Scouting report prepared by QB guru/former Wake Forest star QB James MacPherson

Pros

  • Big, tall pocket-passing QB at 6'5" 230.
  • Rocket arm throws the deep ball accurately as well as anyone.
  • Can make all of the throws.
  • Familiar playing in a Pro-Style offense under long-time NFL OC, Cam Cameron.
  • Cameron spoke very complimentary about Mettenberger saying he's a "hard worker, tough, has an NFL arm similar to Joe Flacco, and sees him playing for many years to come."
  • Tough and stands tall in the pocket versus the rush and delivers accurate passes against the pass rush.
  • Understands defensive coverages as well as pre-snap and post-snap reads.
  • Has the ability to audible and change plays/protections at the line of scrimmage depending on the defensive look.
  • Will go through his progressions quickly as well as hit check down throws to RB's.
  • Big & strong able to shrug off arm tackles like a Ben Roethlisberger.
  • Has shown he can anticipate and throw the ball with great timing before receivers are out of the break on pass routes.
  • Can make touch passes over defenders.
  • Strong enough arm to easily hit outs and comebacks to the field from far hash as well as drive throws on middle seams and go routes in the hole outside versus 2 deep safety look.
  • If given time to throw can pick defenses apart.
  • Has ability to still run bootlegs and pass effectively on the run.
  • Faced top-notch talent and competition week in and week out in the Southeastern Conference.

Cons

  • Slow-footed, not very elusive or able to accelerate effectively escape pass rushers.
  • Will force some throws into coverage.
  • Not great pocket presence, stands on the spot (directly behind center) seven yards deep in the pocket, and do not see him moving and sliding laterally in the pocket to avoid pass rushers.
  • Not going to pull the football down and make too many plays with his feet.
  • Has a tendency to hang onto the football too long and take sacks instead of throwing the football away when receivers are covered.
  • Has gotten caught trying to do too much at the line of scrimmage resulting in negative plays.
  • A little bit of an elongated wind-up throwing motion, relies on arm strength to make up for it.
  • Low release at times, the ball will sail high on him.

Film Room

TSV videos provided by Draft Breakdown

:04 Great pass and location on the go route off NFL 7-step play-action drop.
:55 Awareness of 9 Man Box, throws alert route for first down.
1:16 Not elusive slow-footed on scramble.
1:39 Hangs in pocket delivers a great deep ball go route pass in the hole vs. 2 deep safety look.
2:06 Good play fake to the left flip his hips and delivers a strike to deep curl route.
3:39 Again, not a real threat to run, gets sacked by retracing defensive end.
4:52 Great touch pass on the seam route by TE dropping over LB's.
5:22 Facing a blitz hangs in pocket to hit hot throw slant.
6:52 Strong throw on naked bootleg to the left to deep cross.
7:21 Goes through his progression and hits a big 3rd & 8 pass on cross route for a TD.

 

Against Auburn, Mettenberger showed off his big arm as well as his ability to throw the deep ball accurately and effectively.  He hit a couple of go routes that he was able to drive in the hole versus 2 deep safety look.  He showed he's also capable of playing and executing in a pro-style offense under new OC Cam Cameron.  He displayed an understanding of reads and defenses and went through his progressions quickly finding and hitting open receivers on time.  He also stood tall in the pocket and delivered accurate throws down field against the pass rush.  He also gets the ball out on time to receivers before they're out of the break giving them a chance to get yards after the catch. He even showed he has the ability to move out of the pocket and pass effectively on run on naked bootlegs throwing a laser on a crossing route while rolling to his left.  

 

However, he's a little slow-footed and lacks acceleration, he took a couple sacks while being unable to elude the pass rush.  However, his executing and making his reads were excellent for most of the game and he led his team to a win and handily defeating SEC Champ Auburn.

TSV videos provided by Draft Breakdown

:55 Good use of double cadence to see blitz, then throws bang post on 3rd Down for a TD.
1:41 Checks to pass plays at line of scrimmage versus loaded box, and hits WR on time out of the break.
1:55 Good read to hits slant for a TD.
4:21 Stands on the spot and takes a sack instead of sliding to avoid pass rusher to his right.
4:47 Throws on time to curl route out of the break giving his receiver a chance to get yards after the catch.
5:26 Stands tall in pocket on 3rd & 4 taking a hit in the teeth while delivering great pass to the In route for first down.
5:46 Holds onto the football and takes a sack instead of throwing it away.
6:55 Low release ball sails on him.
7:44 Big time NFL throw with a defender in his face, great pass but is dropped.
8:19 Great read and seam throw on a rope for a TD.
10:22 Forced throw into coverage, great throw result, lucky safety didn't intercept.
11:50 Big 3rd & 23 conversion, throws a laser on seam throw for a first down.

 

Against Georgia, he made some big time throws on seam routes down field as well as making big throws on 3rd down to keep LSU in the ball game and gave them a chance to win at the end.  He showed he can check to pass plays at the line of scrimmage versus 8 and 9 man boxes as well as use a double snap count to see the defense declare blitzes and then hit his appropriate receivers. 

 

However, while standing tall in the pocket, he does not move and slide to avoid the pass rush very well.  He took a sack instead of sliding to avoid the pass rush.  He steps up great in the pocket against the rush but needs to move better sliding to his right and left.  He also showed a bad habit of holding on to the football too long and taking sacks and negative plays, instead of throwing it away when the pass rush is closing in and the receivers aren't open.  While Georgia was getting away with some questionable interference calls late, LSU had a chance to convert on a 4th down pass late and Mettenberger threw off of his back foot missing an open curl route thus coming up short on the road.

TSV videos provided by Draft Breakdown

:04 Can adjust arm and to make check down throw to RB.
:23 Great accurate pass off play action to to the deep post.
1:00 Trying to do too much at line of scrimmage, results in confusion fumbled snap.
1:33 Hangs in takes a hit and delivers strike to in route.
2:05 Strong enough to almost shrug off arm tackle and still make throw.
2:40 Nice under thrown back-shoulder go route to his left.
2:59 Throws an accurate play action field comeback from the opposite hash on a rope.
3:22 Hangs onto the football too long, forces it into coverage, needs to throw it away.
4:49 Great touch throw on jerk route for a TD in back of end zone.
7:15 Gave up on TE pump route too soon forced throw into coverage.
9:29 Misses CB Blitz hot read.

 

In the Alabama game, LSU moved the ball effectively against Alabama early as Mettenberger again showed he's one of the best deep ball throwers in college football, hitting a deep post early.  However, LSU turned the football over a couple of times instead of coming away with points.  Mettenberger looked to be trying to do too much at the line of scrimmage at one point, wanting to change a play after he signaled for the center to snap it, which resulted in a costly snap fumble.  

 

However, Mettenberger still showed his ability to stand tall and deliver throws with defenders in his face all night.  He hit a nice jerk route in the back of the end zone over a defender for a TD.  While Alabama pulled away late, Mettenberger still was competing and showed his toughness taking and enduring hits.  However, some of the hits and sacks were not only breakdowns in protections, but also his inability to slide and elude pass rushers, and setting up and standing seven yards deep on the spot in the pocket.

Report

Mettenberger may have the strongest arm and is perhaps the best deep ball passer in college football.  He is incredibly accurate throwing deep posts and go routes in addition to throwing just about every route required in the NFL.  He is also smart enough to pickup and play in a pro-style offense under long-time NFL OC Cam Cameron and understands NFL pass concepts and reads.  He clearly understands defensive coverages because he is able to check out run plays at the line of scrimmage into pass plays versus too many defenders around the ball as well as goes through his pass reads and progression quickly getting the ball to his receivers.  Additionally, he stands tall in the pocket and delivers throws accurately while taking hits from rushing defenders.  Another distinct aspect of his game is he has a great sense of timing and gets the ball out to the receivers before they break out of their routes, giving them an opportunity to get more yards after the catch.  He is already making NFL-type throws off of play actions while hitting drags, in routes, seam throws, comebacks, posts, as well as check downs and routes by the RB's.  He plays a lot like a Kerry Collins or Ben Roethlisberger.

However, while he is accurate and a great deep ball passer, his biggest issue is his lack of elusiveness and real ability to slide and avoid defenders in the pocket to buy himself time.  He is big and tall that he can see over most defenders, and strong like a Roethlisberger where he can shrug off arm tackles.  However, he relies too much on his height and does not slide laterally and move to avoid defenders to buy himself time, and avoid taking sacks or hits.  He does do a good job of stepping up in the pocket, but he'll stand on the spot directly behind the center seven yards deep.  This makes it easy for pass rushers because they know exactly where the QB is likely to be when they rush.  While Mettenberger is tough when facing the rush, he also has a bad habit of holding onto the ball too long and taking sacks and negative plays instead of throwing the football away.  As a quarterback in the NFL he will need to learn to throw the ball away.  Roethlisberger has been accused of holding onto the football too long.  However, Roethlisberger has been more successful because he's shown escapability, moving and sliding inside and outside of the pocket buying himself time which Mettenberger does not do very well.  Furthermore, he has a little bit of a longer release like a Kerry Collins, but has a strong enough arm he could probably still get away with it. 

Mettenberger also suffered a torn ACL and MCL late November.  His recovery from a major knee surgery will also affect his ability to work on his footwork and improve moving in and out of the pocket as he gets ready for the draft.  Ultimately, he has shown he has the tools, arm, and understanding of NFL-type offenses to be an NFL quarterback.  It will be interesting to see how he will progress and recover from his surgery and how that will affect his draft value this spring.  Regardless, he will bring value to an NFL roster, with his ability to throw the ball accurately down field as well as his understanding of already executing an NFL-type offense as well as NFL pass concepts, play actions, and reads.

Passing Chart