There is a very real chance that Zach Mettenberger was the most misevaluated quarterback of this draft class. He fell somewhere far below the big 3 of Bortles, Manziel and Bridgewater on everyone’s boards and likely trailed Derek Carr, David Fales (who actually has a bright future) but in many aspects, he outperformed his peers. In fact, according to a study done by Chase Stuart and discussed here, Mettenberger was the most efficient QB in the entire class.
According to 2014 QB charting done by Darren Page, Mettenberger ranked 1st in the class in YPA on passes beyond the line of scrimmage, 2nd in completion % between 10-19 yards, and 1st in completion % beyond 20 yards – and that was with 23% of his attempts going 20 yards down the field. Negatives exist, as they do will all prospects. For instance, his TD to INT ratio was only 1.6. One could argue he was limited by his offense, but I think the better argument is that he was limited by his receivers.
“What?! Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham were both highly regarded draft picks” you say. To which the response is, Odell Beckham is, best case scenario, an overvalued asset who had trouble scoring TD’s for Mettenberger in games that weren’t against Furman. Landry, on the other hand, had a relatively productive career, inside the SEC and outside of it; but this is Landry next to Vincent Brown, who just strung together one of the worst WR seasons in NFL history.
|Name||College||Height (in)||Weight (lbs)||40 Yard||Bench Press||Vert Leap (in)||Broad Jump (in)||Shuttle||3Cone|
|Vincent Brown||San Diego State||71||187||4.68||12||33.5||121||4.25||6.64|
|Jarvis Landry||Louisiana State||71||205||4.65||12||28.5||110||4.59||7.56|
So if Beckham isn’t a difference making WR and Landry is no great shakes either, what does that tell us about Mettenberger? Clearly, both Beckham and Landry did well in college, well enough to be considered first and third round draft picks, respectively. Landry averaged 11.47 yards per target and Beckham was up at 12.8 yards per target. These were good college WR’s, but they aren’t translating well into Rotoviz’s projection models.
The genesis of these statistics could very well be the arm talent of Mettenberger. The relationship between receiver and quarterback is a difficult one and hard to disentangle, especially at the college level. But we do know that WR’s and TE’s can definitively make their QB’s better; just give the AYA app a whirl. While I don’t feel comfortable saying all of the success of Beckham and Landry can be pinned entirely on Mettenberger, I do actually think he contributed more to that offense than the general football community would believe. Therefore, a buying opportunity exists for Mettenberger in deep and 2 QB dynasty leagues. I think that he is already the best quarterback on the Titans roster, even if he doesn’t offer the same mobility that Jake Locker does.
Locker has done basically nothing in the NFL to suggest that the Titans should be committed to him, and coming out of school, Mettenberger looks better as a prospect. Locker’s highest completion % in college was 58.4% and Mettenberger’s lowest was 58.8%. However, as Jon Moore wrote here, if you aren’t able to have a season of 8 A/YA and 60%, your chances of becoming a successful NFL QB are small. Mettenberger? Above those thresholds. Locker? Below.
Do you need to go out right now and roster Mettenberger? Probably not. I’d place him in the same bucket with David Fales as one of the few QB’s in this class worth monitoring and/or stashing in dynasty leagues as I like their chances if they ever become starters.