2014 NFL Draft: Torn ACL could push Mettenberger into second day

According to multiple reports, LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger suffered a torn ACL in his left knee against Arkansas November 30, ending his collegiate career on a sour note.

The 6-foot-5, 235-pound gunslinger certainly boasts the physical skills to continue his career in the NFL but the injury, as well as his upcoming surgery and rehabilition will play a significant role in determining Mettenberger's final draft status.

Prior to the injury Mettenberger ranked as a potential first round pick, coming in second behind Fresno State's Derek Carr on NFLDraftScout.com's board among seniors. 

The strong-armed Mettenberger made significant strides this season under LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, who brought a pro-style attack to the Tigers. Demonstrating greater decision-making in his second season as LSU's starter, Mettenberger passed for 3,082 yards and an impressive 22-8 touchdown to interception ratio.

Scouts love Mettenberger's arm strength, size and the steady improvements he's made while facing SEC competition. They are also high on Mettenberger's willingness to make the difficult throws into coverage, demonstrating the confidence in his own ability to make clutch throws in critical situations.

Physically-speaking, Mettenberger has earned comparisons to Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Flacco. Unfortunately, while his size and arm talent warrant these comparisons, the LSU standout is also a relatively immobile -- and that, of course, was prior to his sustaining the serious knee injury.

Mettenberger has enough quality tape that scouts won't necessarily need to see him compete at the Scouting Combine in February or during a Pro Day workout prior to May's draft to give him a high grade. NFL teams will want to see evidence that he's recovering from surgery to repair the torn ligament, however.

The concern will be whether Mettenberger will be able to participate in rookie mini camps and training camp prior to next season. If unable to do so, the team that drafts may be forced to give Mettenberger a "redshirt" rookie season in the NFL, as he'll have little time to develop the on-field rapport with his new teammates critical to taking over as a club's starting quarterback.

As such, while scouts see Mettenberger as a potential first round talent, clubs may be unwilling to pull the trigger on him until the second or even third round.

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