Bleeds-Green.com presents another exclusive piece on some of the top prospects for the 2014 NFL Draft:
The following scouting reports are courtesy of Mike Kiwak, sports staff writer for The Penn in Indiana, Pa.
(5) Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois: 6-2, 226 pounds
Pros: Lightning quick release, one of the fastest in recent memory. His mechanics may be the best in the class; they’re smooth throughout his body, from his torso to his feet. He possesses an above average arm. He’s generally very accurate and has good field vision. He shows the ability to scan the field and find the open man. Velocity on passes inside 20 yards is impressive. Maintains a great mental pace on the field and sets up very fluidly. He has a natural, smooth delivery. He’s confident but he generally knows his limits. He’s shown improvement throughout his out his college career. Mobile in the pocket and capable of picking up yards with his feet. He spreads the ball around. Has very good ball placement. He has a short memory after making mistakes. He’s level-headed and always under control with a strong leadership presence. He had elite college production.
Cons: Level of competition should be a concern. It’s a very large jump from FCS college teams to NFL squads. Velocity is lacking on certain throws, particularly those outside 20 yards. Small hands can cause problems with fumbles. Decision making could use improvement, specifically while under duress; Improvements with vision tie in with this. Will he be able to adapt to the speed of the NFL? He needs to continue to develop his pocket awareness and internal clock to feel pressure. He holds the ball too long at times and will take unnecessary hits. He drops his eyes when faced with heavy pressure. While generally tame, he still takes unnecessary risks. He’ll need to learn how to drop back from under center.
My Take: Garoppolo is a very interesting prospect. He has a lot of favorable traits, but teams may be scared away due to his small school background. Overall, Garoppolo looks to be the perfect example of a West Coast quarterback, whose best fit is an offense where he can get in a rhythm and make quick decisions with the ball. He will have no problems finding a suitor in the league. With some development, Garappolo could become a quality NFL starter.
Comparison: Ryan Tannehill.
Draft Projection: Late first round/early second round.
Best Fits: Jacksonville Jaguars, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets, Houston Texans.
(6) Zach Mettenberger, Louisiana State University: 6-5, 224 pounds
Pros: He has prototypical size. Mettenberger has one of the best arms in the class. He possesses an absolute rocket that can make any NFL-caliber throw. He can generate impressive velocity to any level of the field. He operated a pro-style offense under LSU OC Cam Cameron. He stands tall and confident in the pocket. He doesn’t throw on the move often, but when he does he does a good job squaring his shoulders and delivering a catchable ball. Compared to his 2012 season, he improved greatly in 2013, with decision making, accuracy, mechanics and vision all seeing development. This is a testament to his impressive work ethic. Pressure does not rattle him often. He can stand and deliver a pass with a defender up in his face. Ball placement is impressive. He can fit the ball into some pretty absurd windows. He displays confidence in his wide receivers; He’s not afraid to lob it up in single coverage and let his target make a play on the ball. He’s a very tough competitor.
Cons: He is an absolute statue in the pocket. Sluggish feet and deliberate movements are a concern. He does not move very well in the pocket and isn’t going to make defenders miss the sack very often, if at all. Delivery is slow, which allows defenders to get in better position to defense the ball. His torn ACL is going to push him down the board because of an inability to participate in a majority of off-season work outs. He needs to be more decisive; too many times I saw him hold out for the play to develop and take a bad sack in the process. With his relative immobility, this will be vital for him if he hopes to succeed on the professional level. He has a live arm, which leads to issues with touch. He’s going to have to speed up his mental process when determining defenses and identifying pressures. He was never known for being a leader during his collegiate career. Strong off-field character concerns after a March 2010 arrest for sexual battery.
My Take: Mettenberger is a classic drop-back passer with a very impressive arm. He is generally raw at the position, though, and he will require some serious coaching before he sees any significant starting time. He has high potential and, much like Carr, he projects well into a vertical offense that allows him to make the most of his great arm. If he realizes his potential, Mettenberger could be a long-term, high-quality starter.
Comparison: Joe Flacco
Draft Projection: second round/third round.
Best Fits: Oakland Raiders, Arizona Cardinals, San Diego Chargers, Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings, Tennessee Titans.
*Number in parentheses denotes positional ranking. Scouting report compiled using six games of film study (five games from previous season and one from the year before).