2014 NFL Draft: Zach Mettenberger scouting report and fit with Arizona Cardinals

Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Spor

The Arizona Cardinals have been connected to the LSU quarterback because of his big body and bigger arm, but does his skill set translate to success in the NFL?

When you sit down and watch a game of Zach Mettenberger there is absolutely NFL level skills that jump off the page, but there are concerns and trouble that lead to questions about where whether or not he can become an NFL starter, and if so, what is the right round to take the risk?

Strengths

  • Enviable size and stature for the position at 6-5 224lbs.

  • Uncanny arm strength, with ability to throw from multiple platforms and arm angles when needed.
  • Throws very catchable ball.
  • Ok placement.
  • Fearless, gunslinger mentality.
  • Makes throws into tight windows because of his arm strength and willingness to take risks, throws other players can't or won't make.
  • Excellent at delivering the ball outside of the numbers on deep and intermediate routes.
  • Shows poise in the pocket and not afraid to work in the trash.
  • Fearless in stepping up in the pocket and delivering the ball.
  • Developed leaps and bounds from junior to senior year.
  • Strong work in play action passing game and when asked to move to his right.
  • Picked up Cam Cameron's NFL offense and excelled in it.

Weaknesses

  • Lacks any real movement skills to get outside of the pocket or evade pressure outside of stepping up into the pocket.

  • Slow getting into and out of drops and getting set up in the pocket.
  • Elongated release will hurt in the NFL with defensive backs being able to jump routes.
  • Knee injury to end season puts even more question to his already limited athletic ability.
  • Puts a lot of balls into tight areas where his receivers have to win.
  • Throws high over the middle often, leaving his receivers out to dry.
  • Doesn't always make quick decisions.
  • Will have to answer questions about his life off the field.

Overall

When it comes to Mettenberger there is a lot to like in terms of "fit" within the Bruce Arians deep passing offense.

He has the arm to get back to the deep game that Arians likes to run, and his grasp of the Cam Cameron offense at LSU bodes well for his understanding of the game at the next level.

Concern creeps in with his inability to pull the trigger quickly, as he is often delivering the ball late and deep in his drops and the receivers routes.

Can he speed up his delivery as well as his set up, and get the ball out quickly against an NFL rush?

The problem with Mettenberger in the Arians offense is that his elongated throwing motion will allow defensive backs to jump routes in the NFL, especially when attacking down field in the NFL.

Best Case Scenario: Drew Bledsoe
Worst Case Scenario: Ryan Mallett

Cardinals Thoughts

Like Mallett, Mettenberger has the arm that tantalizes NFL scouts and coaches, but he's SLOW in everything he does on the field, which makes him a liability in the more and more horizontal NFL.

If the Cardinals offensive line can strengthen up and create strong pockets game in and game out against some of the best pass rushes in the NFL, he could be a weapon, and the quarterback of the future that so many have yearned for.

Those are big questions that have to be answered though before the Cardinals, or any NFL team can pull the trigger.

Editor note:

On the bright side, Mettenberger thinks he can compete with Tom Brady for the best hair in the NFL.

This was an interesting and entertaining interview he had with Dan LeBatard on ESPN's Highly Questionable.

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