Former LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger’s draft stock may have taken a hit due to an NFL technicality. It was revealed on Monday that the drug test the Tigers’ quarterback took during the NFL Combine was flagged for being too diluted. Mettenberger and his agent maintain innocence, claiming it was merely a result of “over-hydration.”
Unfortunately for Mettenberger, the NFL sees a diluted drug test as a failed drug test. He very well may not have had any banned substance in his system during the time of his urinalysis, but the amount of water in his sample prevented an accurate reading. Mettenberger, ranked as a top-ten quarterback in this year’s NFL Draft, is projected to be taken as early as the third round. It remains to be seen whether or not this news will affect his draft value.
Mettenberger is one of the biggest names of at least 10 players in the draft pool who failed a drug test or provided a diluted sample at the NFL Combine. Other notable names include Timmy Jernigan, Telvin Smith and Christian Jones of the National Championship winners Florida State, Mettenberger’s teammate at LSU, Anthony Johnson and Seantrel Henderson of Miami. Mettenberger’s agent denounced the results of his client’s drug test and assured NFL teams that there is nothing to worry about.
"Zach did not do anything wrong," his agent Seth Katz said. “We've spoken with several clubs and their response is 'it is what it is. We're not worried about it.' He knows he didn't do anything wrong. He followed instructions."
Mettenberger’s agency also asserted that the former LSU quarterback was under doctors’ orders to drink extra water to prevent cramping from a preexisting injury. This documentation was sent to the NFL’s advisor for drugs of abuse, alcohol and HIV, Dr. Lawrence Brown, who has yet to weigh in. There is a possibility that Mettenberger will have to take part in the substance abuse program in his first year in the league.
The first round of the NFL Draft commences on Thursday, though Mettenberger isn’t expected to be drafted until Friday or Saturday. Mettenberger had a great Pro Day and an excellent final year while throwing for LSU; this unfortunate news will have affected his draft stock if he slides beyond the fourth round.