Is Zach Mettenberger a long shot to start for the Tennessee Titans this season?


(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

The Tennessee Titans drafted quarterback Zach Mettenberger, a two-time captain for LSU, in the sixth round of the  NFL draft. Mettenberger had a 19-6 record in 25 starts for LSU, throwing for 5,783 yards, 22 touchdowns and eight interceptions over three seasons and giving the Titans the hope he could one day step into a starter’s role.

CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora thinks that will happen sooner rather than later, and possibly as early as Week 4.

And if this Titans team shapes up to be as bad as I expect, getting reps for Mettenberger in real-life situations soon could end up making the most sense for this transitioning franchise. I’m guessing [Jake] Locker keeps the starting job into the preseason, but this could very well be a Russell Wilson situation, perhaps even with the window more open because of injury, like when Wilson grabbed Seattle’s starting job as a rookie during his third preseason game.

Of course, Mettenberger doesn’t have solid competition in front of him in Locker, the Titans’ first-round pick in 2011. Locker has thrown for 3,974 yards with 22 touchdowns and 15 interceptions and has battled injuries and inconsistency for most of his short NFL career.

When under pressure in 2013, Locker completed 25 of his 57 attempts (43.9 percent, according to ProFootballFocus) while the 2013 Charting Project had Mettenberger at 16 for 26 (61.5 percent) when faced with a blitz in his final season for LSU.

I would still take the over on Week 4. Since the 1994 draft class, there has been just one sixth-round pick who has started five or more games in their rookie season (Bruce Gradkowski), and just six in the last decade started one or more.

Player Year Tm G GS Yds TD Int QB rating
Bruce Gradkowski 2006 TAM 13 11 1661 9 9 65.9
Ryan Lindley 2012 ARI 6 4 752 0 7 46.7
Keith Null 2009 STL 4 4 566 3 9 49.9
Derek Anderson 2006 CLE 5 3 793 5 8 63.1
Drew Henson 2004 DAL 7 1 78 1 1 61.8
Rusty Smith 2010 TEN 2 1 200 0 4 25.0

“All I can do is control what I can control,” Mettenberger said. “I am going to show up, ready to work. I am going to come every day with a hard hat and lunch pail to get after it. Whatever happens, happens. I am just going to compete my tail off.”

Neil Greenberg analyzes advanced sports statistics for the Fancy Stats blog and prefers to be called a geek rather than a nerd.
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