Maybe Bill Belichick is just trying to throw us all off with so many visits with prospective quarterback prospects. Maybe the 2014 NFL Draft is finally the time the New England Patriots look ahead at life without Tom Brady by drafting his backup.
According to NFL Media insider Albert Breer, Mettenberger visited with New England on Tuesday in Baton Rouge ahead of his pro day Wednesday. The meeting was believed to be one of at least six Mettenberger will have with teams in the days immediately surrounding his pro day.
At 6-foot-5, 224 pounds, Mettenberger is a prototypical pro-style quarterback who rose up draft boards during his final season at LSU under the tutelage offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, a former NFL coach. Mettenberger suffered a season-ending knee injury late in the year, however, and is still recovering from ACL surgery, but he appears to be well ahead of schedule in his rehab. Wednesday's pro day will offer a chance for clubs to see just how far along he is.
Oakland, Minnesota and Tennessee are other teams that have shown interest in Mettenberger during the pre-draft process, but the Patriots remain the most intriguing fit for him. NFL Media analyst Charles Davis knows the team could be looking to draft somebody to sit behind Brady and is one of several who think Mettenberger would be an ideal fit with the club.
"With reports that Brady's backup, Ryan Mallett, is on the trade block, it's not a surprise that New England is doing its due diligence on some of the draft's top quarterback prospects," Davis wrote. "Mettenberger would be a very nice fit with the Patriots. He's a big, strong-armed pocket passer that could develop while Brady continues to shine."
Brady does turn 37 before the season starts, so it's understandable if the front office would like a little insurance policy against injury in addition to finding someone who could one day take the reins from him.
Mettenberger, even if fully healthy, is unlikely to go in the first round but could be a second-day pick for the right team. New England might be in position to take him late in the second round if he were to fall, but given the teams looking for quarterbacks picking before them, that's no sure thing.
Follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter @BryanDFischer.