Oct 26, 2013; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers quarterback Zach Mettenberger (8) throws against the Furman Paladins during the first quarter of a game at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Zach Mettenberger could be Perfect Fit for Chicago Bears in 2014 NFL Draft

The Chicago Bears may be one of the handful of teams who could be interested in pulling the trigger on LSU quarterback, Zach Mettenberger in May’s NFL Draft based on comments made by Bears general manager, Phil Emery earlier this week.

“Ideally … (you want) somebody in that 6-5 range,” Emery said Monday during a panel discussion at a WBBM-AM 780 fan luncheon at a downtown restaurant, citing the need to see over linemen. “The taller, the better.”

Mettenberger stands 6-5 and is the statuesque pocket passer Emery desires, so could he be a target for the Bears should he slip to the third round after tearing his ACL in the regular season finale for LSU vs. Arkansas?

The Bears face an uncertain future at quarterback with Jay Cutler a free agent at season’s end and the team’s preference to not give him the franchise tag could mean the team has a big need at the game’s most important position.

Jay Cutler

Nov 17, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears injured quarterback Jay Cutler (left) looks on as quarterback Josh McCown (12) warms up before the game against the Baltimore Ravens at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Josh McCown has played well in relief of Cutler who has missed time with a groin and ankle injury this season and could serve as a cost-effective alternative for 2014 while Mettenberger recovers from the torn ACL. The Bears would save millions in cap space by letting Cutler walk to resign other players on the roster.

“The franchise tag for the quarterback position has unique challenges because the average comes out to be such a big portion of your cap and your total money available to spend on other players to acquire to help your team,” Emery said.

The Bears have a number of players playing on one-year deals, including Pro Bowl players Charles Tillman, Henry Melton and Tim Jennings who could be resigned to new deals without experiencing a significant drop in production from Cutler to McCown.

Cutler is a better quarterback than McCown and a better long-term fit because of McCown’s age (he turns 35 next July 4), but if no extension can be worked out for Cutler, the team will have to find the quarterback of the future.

Mettenberger can be that guy.

It remains to be seen how much Mettenberger’s draft stock will suffer as a result of not being able to throw at the combine or LSU’s pro day, but if he’s available  when the Bears pick in the third round, I believe they would be hard-pressed to pass up on a first round talent at that point.

Teams talk about value picks all the time and Mettenberger would be just that if he slips that far and the Bears let Cutler walk.

If drafted by Chicago, he would have the good fortune of being able to sit and learn the playbook and the NFL demands as a rookie and would be able to be the starter in 2015.

Mettenberger’s injury is unfortunate for he and LSU, but for the Bears it could end up meaning they get great value on their quarterback of the future and therefore unfortunate for Cutler as well.

Tags: Featured Football LSU Tigers NFL Draft Popular Zach Mettenberger

  • Ryan Beverley

    My only concern now regarding him is whether or not that ACL injury will make him more prone to injury down the road. Why trade an injury prone 30 year old qb for an injury prone 20 year old one?

    • http://www.rantsports.com/blog/author/patrickschmidt/feed/ Patrick Schmidt

      That’s something that Phil Emery or any GM in the NFL will have to consult with their doctors when they meet and examine Mettenberger at the combine. It’s certainly a valid concern and how he attacks his rehab will be a large part in his long-term health to avoid these questions. However, this is his first major injury has been a durable player during his college career.

  • FJ doreza

    One injury does not make Zach prone to them, as many players have had the ACL injury and have come back full strength. He played with a brace for most of the season but still had a great year. He truly is the best pocket passer in college and has an arm that rivals Cutler. With all the hype going to Bridgewater, Bortles and for no good reason, Manziel, Zach could be the forgotten gem and would be a steal in the mid to late rounds. The LSU offense under Cam Cameron was similar to the Bears as in it was a balanced attack as Zach threw back shoulder, sideline outs, wide receiver screens and many deep, high point passes to his receivers that had great hands like Marshall and Jeffery. He even throws the slants and screens with better touch and placement, and unlike Cutler’s heavy fastball, Zach throws a nice and easy laser with good anticipation and timing. If Zach had as many attempts, or had no running game like Texas’s Manziel, his numbers would be far greater than his already impressive 112 QB rating, and even a bunch of those incompletions came when he had to throw the ball away. So now that McCown is gone, he really should be the starter, Zach is the best QB available after they select DT Aaron Donald at 1, Kyle Van Noy at 2, Kareem Martin or Mettenberger at 3, unless the Bears trade up or he drops. At 4, Craig Loston/Marcus Roberson/Ed Reynolds 5 Will Clarke/Trent Murphy 6 Bookie Snead/Victor Hampton 6(2) John Brown/Donte Moncref/Martivis Bryant for slot receiver and returner. There is still a lot of depth at DB and I understand that some of these guys might be gone. Another Idea would be to have Ryan Shazier, a forgotten man, as a SS, it would probably be a better position for him since he doesn’t shed blocks well but is a fearless monster hitter and a solid tackler. Will Tuitt be gone in the 2nd round? Kareem Martin is the best all around player at DE and was one of the fasted DE at the combine. Will Clarke was also surprisingly speedy and both had the length, size and athleticism that Emery covets. Kyle Van Noy has the size and speed of Urlacher but plays less stiff and more fluid. He does everything well and understands the position but has the versatility to play OLB or MLB, he could also be a day one starter and eventually take over for Briggs. Craig Loston is the forgotten man at safety but is a definite playmaker like Van Noy and Donald. He is rangy, a solid tackler and an aggressive hitter and plays much bigger and taller than his size. With some polish he could be an excellent starting safety who will be around after the 3rd round, Ed Reynolds and Marcus Roberson are other solid options but Reynolds might be gone by then. Dri Archer would be a dream pick but his speed will mean he’ll disappear sooner than later. John Brown or Donte Moncrief/Martavis Bryant, two very fast receivers could be a slot, deep threat or return man/receiver. Some forgotten men are Jarvis Landry, Andre Williams..who knows what’s coming but I can’t wait to find out.

  • FJ doreza

    Other options for QB, AJ McCarron, Aaron Murray,Jeff Matthews, Tom Savage and David Fales. Fales and McCarron have the size Emery likes, Aaron is shorter but gets rid of the ball quickly, is very sharp and concise with his passes. AJ is a proven winner and is a smart QB who can make all the throws accurately but not with high velocity. He reminds me of McCown actually as he is a very solid if not spectacular quarterback. David Fales, if other teams are smart, should be gone by the 2nd round and shouldn’t be overlooked. Please, please, please..NOT Jordan Lynch or Garappolo, just because they are hometown guys doesn’t mean you should consider them.