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2015 NFL DRAFT

2014 NFL Draft: LSU QB Zach Mettenberger red-flagged for bad back?

By Jeff Reynolds | NFLDraftScout.com

Already under the microscope for character questions and doubts about his maturity, LSU fifth-year senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger was dented twice this week and could be shaping up as a risky pick even in the middle rounds.

Mettenberger's drug test sample at the NFL Scouting Combine was diluted. The results raise a pre-existing red flag with Mettenberger, with whom evaluators already had concern about past recreational drug use.

Wednesday, NFL Network reported the test wasn't the only bad news for the LSU quarterback.

Mettenberger was flagged medically for spondylolysis, a back condition that is essentially multiple microfractures treatable without surgery.

According to LSU, the condition was never problematic -- at practice or in a game -- and much of the potential for concern could be alleviated by adjustments in throwing mechanics.

As a singular worry for scouts and GMs, spondylolysis would not sink Mettenberger's ship.

But here's what NFLDraftScout.com's Dane Brugler said about him before this week's double whammy:

He isn't a bad athlete, but his naturally slow feet are a concern, appearing clunky when trying to escape pressure and struggling to reset and deliver. Mettenberger has steadily shown an improved feel for the position with more reps and his confidence was boosted by success, but it also plummeted with mistakes. He has the NFL size and arm strength and has flashed the improved decision-making and anticipation to be a potential starter in the NFL – still developing and has the psyche that needs to be massaged some. The ACL injury and maturity concerns are red flags and potentially damaging to his draft stock, but his natural traits will likely put him in the 2nd-3rd round range, close to my grade of 3rd-4th round.

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