Scouting Combine Research: QBs, Part 2

We continue our most popular series of the year with Part 2 of our breakdown of the 19 quarterbacks invited to the Scouting Combine. This group includes injured standouts Zach Mettenberger and Aaron Murray, along with a quarterback whose father played for the Packers.

In Part 2 of Packer Report's preview of the Scouting Combine, we introduce you to nine of the 19 quarterbacks who will perform in front of the scouts in two weeks.

Zach Mettenberger, Louisiana State: Mettenberger's draft prospects took a big hit when he tore an ACL on Nov. 29. Because of other issues with the knee, he didn't have surgery until Jan. 2. He's hoping to work out for scouts before the draft — perhaps as soon as the school's pro day, which will be held in late March or early April, according to the Shreveport Times. Along with the injury, scouts will be concerned about Mettenberger getting thrown out of Georgia after pleading guilty to sexual battery. His offensive coordinator at LSU in 2013 was Cam Cameron, who has worked with NFL quarterbacks such as Drew Brees, Joe Flacco and Philip Rivers. He called Mettenberger a "first-round quarterback." Cameron made a difference, with Mettenberger going from 58.8 percent accuracy with 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions to 64.9 percent with 22 touchdowns and eight picks. Cameron spoke of Mettenberger "working our audible system flawlessly" to give the offense an edge at the line of scrimmage.

Stephen Morris, Miami: Morris entered this season as one of the nation's top quarterback prospects after throwing for 3,345 yards with 21 touchdowns and seven interceptions as a junior. As a senior, he threw for 3,028 yards with 21 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He's got a big-time arm — as evidenced by being the nation's only quarterback with a 50-yard completion in nine games — but his accuracy isn't great (57.7 percent for his career) and the interception total hints to his suspect decision-making. Morris was taken to school by Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater in the bowl game, with Morris going 12-of-27 for 160 yards. There are no questions about his character, though. The two-year captain has served as the football team's Student-Athletic Advisory Council (SAAC) representative since 2011. He volunteered numerous hours in the community, including serving as the project manager for the University of Miami's Marrow Donor Drive in 2012 and 2013.

Aaron Murray, Georgia: Like Mettenberger, Murray sustained a torn ACL, with Murray's happening on Nov. 23. At the Senior Bowl, Murray said he's "way ahead" of schedule and hoped he'd be able to perform in front of scouts at Georgia's pro day on April 16. Murray topped 3,000 passing yards in all four seasons — a first in SEC history — and finished his career as the conference's career leader with 13,166 passing yards and 121 touchdown passes. He boasted a career record of 35-17. At just 6 foot, his height — as much as the injury — will push him down draft boards. Then again, 5-foot-11 Russell Wilson just won the Super Bowl. "I played in the SEC," Murray said. "Those guys are pretty big. I don't have any trouble seeing over them or seeing around them." Adversity is nothing new for the Murray family. His mom, Lauren, was diagnosed with a brain tumor seven years ago. "We tend to go into action mode as opposed to crisis mode. These are hiccups. These are bumps in terms of the big picture. I think it's the perspective — of course it's hard," she told RedAndBlack.com. "I felt badly [about his injuries] of course. But it wasn't the end of the world. It was all part of a greater plan." Bryn Renner, North Carolina: Renner's senior season ended with a partially torn labrum and broken shoulder blade. For his career, he completed a school-record 66.5 percent of his passes. He ranks second in school history with 64 touchdowns passes and third with 8,221 passing yards. His pass efficiency rating of 151.22 is the highest in ACC history. "The Gunner" is the son of Bill and Cindy Renner. Bill was his high school coach; before that, he punted 35 times in 1986 and 1987 for the Packers. Bryn Renner was a phenom at Virginia's West Springfield High School. Not only was he a star quarterback, but he was the second-leading scorer in the Washington, D.C.-metro area and was a good enough player in baseball that he played for the Tar Heels in 2010.

Tom Savage, Pittsburgh: Savage's vagabond career ended with 2,958 yards, 21 touchdowns and nine interceptions as a senior. An ACC-record-tying six touchdown passes came in an upset win over Duke. As a freshman at Rutgers, he was named the team's MVP and set Big East freshman passing records. He started four games as a sophomore in 2010, struggled and was benched. He transferred to Arizona in 2011, sitting out the season due to NCAA transfer rules. "At the time, I was young, bitter, and just wanted to prove myself and get back on the field," Savage told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "As a competitor, I wanted to keep playing. I figured that maybe taking a year off and redshirting would be the best thing for me, going elsewhere to get a fresh start." After the 2011 season, Arizona changed coaches, going with Rich Rodriguez. That was a poor fit for Savage's skill-set, so he was on the move again. He landed in Pittsburgh in 2012, meaning a second consecutive season sidelined by NFL transfer rules. His brother, Bryan, was a quarterback at Wisconsin in 2004 and 2005. Pitt coach Paul Chryst was an assistant at Wisconsin when Bryan played for the Badgers.

Connor Shaw, South Carolina: Shaw had a remarkable senior season, with 24 touchdowns and just one interception. He completed 63.4 percent of his passes. Shaw's career record improved to 27-5 after beating Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl, and he went undefeated at home. No player in South Carolina history had thrown for 4,000 yards and rushed for 1,000 yards. Shaw threw for 6,074 and rushed for 1,683. "There are a lot of Brett Favre plays in there, where he's running to his right and he flips the ball with his left hand and it's a completion, first down, or whatever it is," Wisconsin defensive coordinator Dave Aranda said before the bowl game. "There are a lot of things like that. If you were picking a sandlot team to play some football on Thanksgiving Day, he would be a top pick. You want him on your team because he's going to make some plays for you."

Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech: Thomas started all 40 games over his final three seasons. He's big, strong and athletic but battled scattershot accuracy with a career mark of 55.5 percent. He threw for 9,003 yards with 53 touchdowns and 39 interceptions during his three seasons. "Guys respect me," Thomas said before his career closed at the Sun Bowl, a game in which he went just 3-of-11 before being knocked out with a stinger. It was his third consecutive bowl-game dud. "I've been around a while and I'll give it all I've got no matter what day it is. That's what I do. The type of competitor I am, I leave it all on the line every single day, every single game. That's how I am. Like me or not, you've got to respect that." To improve his accuracy, he worked with quarterback guru George Whitefield, who has worked with the likes of Cam Newton, Andrew Luck and Johnny Manziel.

Dustin Vaughan, West Texas A&M: Vaughan was named a Division II All-American and finished second in voting for the Harlon Hill Trophy, which is the D-II equivalent of the Heisman Trophy. He also was one of 16 National Football Foundation Scholar-Athletes. As a senior, he threw for a Division II record 5,401 yards. His 53 touchdown passes was one off the record. For his career, he threw for 13,525 yards and 123 touchdowns, numbers that rank seventh and third, respectively.

Keith Wenning, Ball State: Wenning was a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. He was the only Bowl Subdivision quarterback with 10 games of at least 299 passing yards. For his career, he set school records with 11,187 passing yards, 1,012 completions and 91 touchdown passes, and he ranks fourth in MAC history in touchdown passes, fourth in completions and sixth in passing yards. Not bad, considering he didn't become a starting quarterback in high school until his senior season and Ball State was the only school to offer him a scholarship to play quarterback. (Air Force provided the only other scholarship offer, and that was to play linebacker). He had a 3.34 grade-point average.


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