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NFL exec: 'Streaky' Mettenberger looks 'terrible' at times

Former LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger had surgery for a torn ACL on Jan. 2, but says he doesn't have any physical limitations and will prove it Wednesday with his workout during LSU's pro day.

"The biggest milestone I want to hit is when the lights are on and all the coaches are here, do explosive five-step drops, be able to redirect in the pocket and still throw downfield, roll out, throw the ball on the move, and show that my knee is not going to slow me down," Mettenberger told NFL Media reporter Albert Breer. "I'm not going to be on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list to start the season. I'm going to be ready to go for rookie camp."

Breer reported via Twitter that LSU trainer Jack Marucci said they tested Mettenberger's reconstructed left knee Friday and that and it came back at 97 percent. Marucci also said that if the national title game were Thursday, Mettenberger would be able to play.

Mettenberger measured in at 6-foot-5 and 224 pounds at February's NFL Scouting Combine, but was unable to work out at the event. His prototypical size and strong arm has led to speculation that he could be drafted as early as the second round in May's draft; he is expected to be off the board by the end of the second day (Rounds 2-3).

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His workout will be heavily scrutinized by NFL decision-makers. One AFC personnel director told Breer that Mettenberger "can make all the throws" and has one of the stronger arms in the draft. But there are issues.

"I really think, on the field, his accuracy is the issue" the personnel director said. "He can get cold, and you can't answer that between now and the draft. That's a coach saying, 'We can fix this, tweak his fundamentals and reads.' With his accuracy, he's streaky; he'll get hot and rip off nine straight, or come out and look terrible."

There also are some concerns about his lack of mobility. In addition, there are some off-field issues: He was dismissed from Georgia as a freshman for an incident that led to him eventually pleading guilty to sexual battery charges. He was sentenced to 12 months of probation and 80 hours of community service and spent the 2010 season at Butler (Kan.) Community College.

"This kid was living the life. He lived it at Georgia, he was still like that at community college and he came in out of shape and heavy to LSU (in 2012)," an AFC area scout told Breer. "That lifestyle will do that to you, especially if you're a big body like his. But those guys can grow up, and he matured at the rate you'd expect of a college kid. ... If it wasn't for the incident, none of the stuff he's done is that bad. ... And I think he probably learned his lesson."

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Mettenberger threw for 3,082 yards, 22 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 2013 before tearing the ACL in his left knee in LSU's regular-season finale against Arkansas. He had knee surgery Jan. 2 but began throwing again early in February. Mettenberger has had mechanical and accuracy issues, though former NFL head coach and assistant Cam Cameron's hiring before the 2013 season helped Mettenberger improve in those areas.

"This being his first year in a pro offense, I think he thrived, playing in a system that emphasizes all the things we do -- dropback passing, play fakes, making progressions in the pocket," the AFC area scout told Breer. "He did a nice job. The only thing that limits him is his mobility: He's a traditional, old-school pocket passer. And in today's NFL, with the all the speed out there, for a throwback pocket passer to be successful, they have to be an absolutely tremendous passer and they have to be able to function if moved off (their) spot."

Breer reported Mettenberger already has met with New England, Oakland and Tennessee, and will travel to Jacksonville to meet with Jaguars representatives Thursday. He will work out for Detroit on Saturday in Baton Rouge.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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