This draft is full of DII studs who are capable of making a big impact in the NFL. Guys like Carson Wentz, Javon Hargrave, and Matt Judon are all guys who could go from unknown standout to NFL star. These kind of players often have to do something special to even get noticed, if they get noticed at all.
One player who has stood out to me is Ferris State defensive linemen, Justin Zimmer. At first I was just drawn in by a great workout.
However, the more I watched him the more I realized that this kid has the ability to play on Sundays.
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40 yard dash – 4.89
Vertical jump – 33 inches
Bench press – 46 reps of 225 lbs
Obviously, this kid is a really good athlete. His workout numbers are comparable with any prospect in this class. More than just a gym rat, Zimmer’s athletic ability translates to the field. He is fast off the snap and has the upper body strength to really give blockers a nice punch. Also pretty smooth mover for a guy who is 6’3 and 300 plus pounds.
Zimmer absolutely dominated the competition while at Ferris State. last season he lead his team in total tackles with 81.
I’d just like to take a moment and express how impressive it is that a defensive tackle, typically the guys with the least range and the most guys blocking him, leads a team in tackles. That is absolutely amazing to me. He also led the team in sacks (13), tackles for a loss (26), and forced fumbles (four). This kid has a nose for the ball and is usually involved in every big play.
Zimmer also brings great intangibles. A two time team captain whose coach absolutely raves about with work ethic and dedication to the team. That’s obvious when talking about a kid who added 30 lbs to his frame in the offseason so he could move inside and play defensive tackle to help his team in the middle.
Justin Zimmer will clearly do whatever it takes to help his team.
With any division two prospect, there are obvious level of competition questions. Justin Zimmer was a man playing with boys in college and it’s unclear if he can be anywhere near as effective while playing with better athletes. Those questions alone will likely drop him to the middle of day three in the draft.
Zimmer is also fairly raw as a prospect. He could literally play any position on the defensive line in college. While this gives him good versatility with the ability to play as a three technique tackle in a 4-3 or defensive end in a 3-4, it also means that he isn’t polished t any one position. He will need some coaching before he can be expected to make a significant impact.
A great athlete who dominated the competition in college, Justin Zimmer has really good upside. I think he could be a backup 3-4 defensive from day one in the NFL. He needs to prove that he’s more than just a great athlete. Coaches will have a chance to mold Zimmer into whatever they need him to be. If he proves to be as coachable in the NFL as he did in college then I think he could go down as one of the best draft steels in this years class.