Titans trade up to select QB Zach Mettenberger in 6th round

The Tennessee Titans traded up, giving up their seventh-round pick to move up eight spots in the sixth round. With that upgraded sixth rounder, the Titans took LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger.

When I covered Mettenberger in the visitors post, I mentioned he could go anywhere from the late first round to going completely undrafted. He fits the mold of a Ken Whisenhunt quarterback, a tall, strong-armed pocket passer who is willing to throw the ball to the intermediate and deeper levels. He also fits the Ken Whisenhunt mold in that he isn’t necessarily the most mobile guy in the pocket and doesn’t have good accuracy. He benefited a lot from LSU by playing with a couple very, very talented pass-catchers in Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, who bailed him out of a lot of throws that I wasn’t so sure about. From a talent perspective, I thought he was an early Day 3 QB, roughly comparable to a Logan Thomas or Tom Savage.

But I mentioned Mettenberger as a possible undrafted free agent because he comes with multiple red flags. First and least serious, he suffered a torn ACL this past December. He recovered enough to throw at a pro day before the draft. Even immobile pocket quarterbacks have recovered from torn ACLs before (e.g., Carson Palmer was fine after he got Kimo’ed, it was only the arm injury that affected his velocity where he fell off). The second and potentially more medical serious issue is something I haven’t seen much detail about, a back condition, apparently spondylolysis. That’s something that could be a long-term performance issue, and by selecting him, the Titans apparently are comfortable with it, at least enough to take a risk on him. Third, he’s apparently for mind-altering substances, including a reported positive test at the Combine this year that he attributes to a diluted substance. Fourth, he got kicked out of Georgia. For character issues, not because he just decided he wasn’t going to try to pass any of his classes. Given what some of character issues Mark Richt’s players have had, I view that as an accomplishment. The base incident was a 2010 arrest for alcohol consumption (blah) and sexual battery (not blah), with the dismissal apparently being for lying to his coaches about it. I really try not to get into this off-the-field stuff, but (a) medicals, (b) positive drug tests, and (c) serious police involvement are the three things I care about. My guess, and I stress this is just a guess and something I have absolutely zero inside information at all about, is his combination of issues, both medial and off the field, knocked him off a decent number of NFL draft boards altogether.

Is it also worth mentioning sixth round quarterbacks have been mostly worthless in the 13 years since Tom Brady was drafted? If they’re looking for a Jake Locker replacement next offseason, chances are very good they’ll be looking in free agency or the top part of the draft, not at Mettenberger.

Unless they trade any future picks, the Titans are done drafting this year. Only one defensive back and no wide receiver. Draft recap and UDFA posts up later, plus more on each Titans draft pick to come in the future.

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