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Titans trade in 6th round to draft QB Mettenberger

By TERESA M. WALKER - AP Sports Writer
    2014-05-10 15:55

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Tennessee Titans finally have drafted a quarterback to back up oft-injured Jake Locker, though they certainly took their time before taking Zach Mettenberger of LSU.

The Titans traded with Washington to move up eight spots Saturday and drafted Mettenberger at No. 178 overall in the sixth round. Their quarterbacks coach worked Mettenberger out a week ago, and coach Ken Whisenhunt said they considered selecting the quarterback sooner in the draft.

''We had to make the move to get him,'' Whisenhunt said. ''We'd heard that there were other teams that were trying to move up to get him. At that point, we felt like it was a low risk-high reward type of situation.''

Locker has missed 14 of 32 starts since being named the team's top quarterback, and he was hurt for the final nine games last season as Tennessee went 7-9 and costing Mike Munchak his coaching job.

The 6-foot-5, 252-pound Mettenberger threw for 3,082 yards and 22 touchdowns last season. He tore his left ACL in the regular season finale in November and had surgery in January. Mettenberger said he was ecstatic for the opportunity and asked about not being drafted until the sixth round, he called this a great opportunity.

''I'll make the most of it, and I'm ready to get up there and get working,'' Mettenberger said.

Tennessee repeatedly has endorsed Locker as the starting quarterback. But the Titans did not pick up his fifth-year option to avoid being on the hook for approximately $14 million in 2015 in case of injury.

Locker was the eighth overall pick in 2011 and has for 3,974 yards with 22 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in his 18 starts. He had eight TDs with four TDs in only seven games in 2013. Tennessee swapped Locker's backups cutting Ryan Fitzpatrick for Charlie Whitehurst who can help teach Whisenhunt's offense.

The Titans wound up taking the 10th quarterback in this draft. Mettenberger offers at least another option for a franchise needing to win on the field to lure fans back into the stands in Nashville. Tennessee hasn't had a winning season or a playoff berth in five years.

Mettenberger started his college career at Georgia where he redshirted as a freshman and was competing with Aaron Murray for the starting quarterback job. He went to junior college before landing at LSU where he worked last season with former NFL coach Cam Cameron as his offensive coordinator.

The Titans swapped their seventh-round draft pick to Washington to move up in the sixth round. That left them with six selections in this draft, their fewest since 2003.

They opened taking left tackle Taylor Lewan of Michigan with the No. 11 selection overall and running back Bishop Sankey of Washington in the second round. On Saturday, they used their first three picks on defense taking tackle DaQuan Jones of Penn State, defensive back Marqueston Huff of Wyoming in the fourth round and inside linebacker Avery Williamson of Kentucky in the fifth.

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Online:

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker

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