But what if the Texans go another route? What if they don’t select a quarterback at No. 1? What if Houston trades down for more picks later in the draft? QB Watch is an ongoing series looking at early and mid-round quarterbacks that could be a possible fit for the Texans.
Could Zach Mettenberger be a quarterback for the Texans?
Mettenberger said Houston was one of 15-20 teams that he met with during the NFL Combine. While the Texans definitely plan to draft a quarterback, there’s no guarantee it will be with the No. 1 overall pick, according to head coach Bill O’Brien, who will be closely evaluating Mettenberger.
“You’ve got (A.J.) McCarron, you’ve got (Zach) Mettenberger, you’ve got Logan Thomas, you’ve got Savage, you’ve got Garoppolo,” O’Brien said in an interview with NFL Network. “I mean, I could go right down the list. To me, you’ve got 10 to 12 guys you’ve got to do a great job of evaluating and make the best pick possible wherever you pick these guys. I see a lot of good quarterbacks.”
The former LSU quarterback is coming off a January 2 ACL surgery. He was unable to do much at the NFL Combine, just six weeks removed from surgery. Since NFL scouts haven’t been able to evaluate him this offseason, buzz surrounding the Watkinsville, Georgia native has been limited. His draft stock could drop, making him available past the first round.
After finishing his senior year with 3,082 yards, 22 touchdowns, and eight interceptions, Mettenberger has drawn a fair amount of interest. He plans to throw at LSU’s Pro Day on April 9.
The 6-foot-5, 230-pound quarterback started for two seasons at LSU before tearing his ACL and MCL on November 29 against Arkansas. Heading into 2013, many believed Mettenberger was a top prospect. He flourished in a pro-style offense under offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Cam Cameron, who had 14 years of NFL coaching experience working with the likes of Joe Flacco and Philip Rivers.
Mettenberger is a traditional pocket passer, known for his big arm. As quarterbacks coach for Tom Brady who has been prolific in the pocket, O’Brien may be looking for similar attributes.
“Our quarterback will always have to have intelligence, toughness, the ability to think quickly, be a good teammate, be a hardworking guy, be a guy that throws the ball accurately, be a guy that can perform under pressure,” O’Brien said on February 21. “So many of these games come down to the last two minutes of the game that we’ve got to make sure that the guy that we have under center can perform under pressure. So those are some of the things that we will always look for in a quarterback.”
Mettenberger prides himself on his pocket presence and football IQ, though he was often criticized for his lack of mobility outside of it. He hopes teams can see his strengths and "fall in love" with what he has to offer.
“In the NFL they’re always going to need guys who can throw the ball,” Mettenberger said. “That’s something I do well. It’s something I talked to Coach Cameron about. The game is changing. There are linemen running in the 4.8’s, freakish time. The game is getting faster. But at the end of the day the QB position needs to be a guy who makes tough decisions, smart decisions, to be pinpoint accurate when its crunch time.”
Read more in this series:
QB Watch: A.J. McCarron
QB Watch: Jimmy Garoppolo
QB Watch: Aaron Murray
QB Watch: Tom Savage