Zach entered the Stanford Cardinal program in 2009 as the 4th ranked Tight End prospect in the nation (first team all state [California] honors), where he was redshirted. Being used in 2010 primarily as a Red Zone/Short Yardage weapon, Zach caught 16 passes for 190 and 5 touchdowns, which put him third on his team overall. This past season, Zach played in only 10 games due to a knee injury, but started 3 games, capping the season off with 25 receptions for 343 yards and 4 touchdowns. Zach will be entering the season as one of two highly touted and talented Cardinal Tight Ends and will need to show he can shoulder a heavy load in the pass and run game, losing two offensive weapons that took pressure and defenders off of him (Fleener and Owusu). He will also need to show consistency in the offensive game with a new Quarterback at the helm of the Cardinal offense.
Size and Speed: Zach enters the year standing 6’6 and 255 pounds, with room to add onto his frame. He has prototypical size and body type for a dual threat Tight End and will play both roles very well. Zach has been timed in the 4.74-4.80 range, making him a mismatch against linebackers, also factoring in his height/weight.
Release: Zach has a very clean release for a man his size. He has shown he can be jammed at the line and fight it off while then turn his hips and make a play on the ball. He isn’t overly quick off the line and needs a few steps to hit his top-speed but doesn’t let this falter him. He needs to take better lines and angles off the line, while not going too far out and around potential defenders, he doesn’t have elite reactionary skills to make a break back into the play and ball.
Route Running: Zach has shown inconsistency in his route running ability. He has the skills and comes from a pro-style offense, but has a set number of routes he ran the past two years. He is relied on to run out routes and short crosses to keep defenders close and to force a safety down into the box. These he has no troubles running and is lose in the hips with sure feet. Where he struggles is going 7-15 yards out. He has had a couple of plays where he looks lost and runs a similar pattern to another Receiver, nearly running into them. He needs to show better awareness and confidence (in himself). He is great at finding the soft spot in the zone and will sit and make a quick break for extra yards. Another key area for him is the Red Zone, where he can hit the corner or middle route and either out jump or muscle the defender and make the play/catch.
Hands: Zach has the great hands (big and soft) which he will use to snare the ball and not rely on his chest/body. Unlike most of his counterparts, Zach doesn’t suffer from (many) concentration issues and will catch it if it is thrown to him. Great high pointer and will go over the middle and challenge the linebacker.
Body Control and Traffic Ability: One of Zach’s better abilities. He has great body control and balance. He doesn’t put himself into a bad place on the line to be beat by the defender and can/will set his feet and hands quickly as to not allow them into his chest. He has good control while in the air and can high point the ball and come down on his feet. He goes over the middle regularly and will challenge the defender, dropping a shoulder and moving them from his spot.
YAC: Zach isn’t great at creating extra yards, but is able to do so. He isn’t going to break long runs (he isn’t fast enough, but also cannot maintain his speed/tackle breaking) but will create enough to be effective and reliable. He knows the little things about the offensive game and will create space at the sticks and make sure he picks up the downage yards.
Blocking: Zach is a strong and technically strong blocker. He is quick to set his hands and feet. He has great, natural bend and is strong at the point of attack (great punch). Zach can and will move with the play, taking the first defender out of the play, then will disengage and find the next defender to put a helmet on. Keeps his eyes moving and scanning and will locate the unblocked defender. He could add a few pounds to put on a few pounds to maximize this potential. (play similar to an extra Tackle)
Overall: Zach has a great chance to fly up draft boards if he decides to enter the draft next April. He is a two way offensive talent who can also play special teams. He has the measurables and body of work that will translate into success at the next level. He needs to improve on his release and route running, but his hard work and determination, which he already shows, will allow him to build on these areas.