The Chicago Bears defense is rightfully going to get the attention in both free agency and the NFL draft. Here’s why they should save a pick for Zach Mettenberger.
Josh McCown exit will leave little depth behind Jay Cutler
Casual and die hard Bears fans must’ve heard by now that the whispers are growing louder about the impending exit of veteran backup quarterback Josh McCown on the free agent market. It’s not really a big surprise. Despite being 35-years old he had an outstanding 2013 season, stepping in to relieve the injured Jay Cutler and throwing over 1,800 yards, 13 touchdowns and just one interception. His leadership and mobility to go with underrated accuracy has caught the attention of several teams. Like most players he has a family to consider, not to mention a desire to play. So it’s not a huge surprise that expectations are he will take an offer from another franchise to compete for the starting job. Still, it does put Chicago in a difficult bind. Though they have Jay Cutler locked up as the starter for the forseeable future, the depth chart behind him is dangerously thin. Considering his style of play and how he hasn’t played a full season in years, that is something the team can’t let stand. The question is how do they go about fixing it before the season starts?
Mettenberger talent under Marc Trestman could become trade bait
Obviously fans have clamored for the Chicago Bears front office to take a young quarterback in the NFL draft, somebody for the renowned quarterback guru Marc Trestman to develop behind Cutler. If that were to happen, which is becoming more and more likely, then the team can address the issue after the defense has been taken care of. That would mean the fifth round or later. However, aside from the nagging Tom Brady argument, the chances of landing a quality talent at quarterback in the late rounds is minimal at best. On the other hand, recent history shows that there is a lot to be hopeful for by investing a third or fourth round pick in a project player. So once the third round comes about the Bears should seriously consider getting that quarterback, and if he’s available, it should be Zach Mettenberger. The LSU senior was having a solid year in 2013 and was considered a borderline first round pick. Unfortunately a torn ACL last in the season delivered a tough blow to his draft stock. That is why he is considered a pick for between the second and fourth rounds. Mettenberger looks like the prototypical NFL quarterback. He’s 6’5″ with a cannon for an arm and displayed improved decision-making throughout last season. That said he suffered from inconsistency and doesn’t have the mobility befitting his underrated athleticism. In simpler terms, he’s not a finished product but his physical talent is undeniable. Putting him under the guidance of Trestman will not only serve to bolster his knowledge and confidence, but also give the Chicago Bears a two-for-one deal.
Zach Mettenberger is talented enough to be a very real insurance policy against the Jay Cutler Question. Yet at the same time, investing a pick in him gives the Bears a chance to stash away a potentially lucrative trade piece over the next few seasons, all while have him in place as the replacement for Josh McCown.