Drew Boylhart February 2008
Tom Zbikowski   S   Notre Dame
 
STRENGTHS
Tom is one of the best safeties in this draft.  He is strong, quick, smart and an excellent tackler.  Tom can do anything he wants on the field.  He can cover a TE or RB out of the backfield one-on-one.  He can be used as an in-the-box Strong Safety and has the speed to be used as a single Free Safety as well.  Tom has the potential to be as good as Troy Polamalu (S Pittsburgh Steelers).  He can also be a hell of a special teams returner and player for the team that drafts him.  Tom is under the radar in a draft that does not have a lot of outstanding Safeties.  Some of the reasons are of his doing and some are not. 
 
NEEDS TO IMPROVE
Tom has been involved in another possible career (boxing) and because of a certain WR from last year on this very same team who chose baseball over football, the scouts are a bit leery of Tomís commitment to playing football at the NFL level.  Tom has also been on a team that had a bad defense.  He was used most of the time in a two deep zone system, which lessened the scoutsí ability to see his cover skills.  He is not locked in the hips; he is just doing the wrong exercises.  He has tightened up his abdomen so much that it doesnít allow him to look flexible in that area.  Personally, I would not worry about it.  As soon as he gets a football trainer and stops using a boxing trainer, this will become a non-issue.  Tom is also behind in his instincts and his read and reaction skills for his position.  All of these issues are correctable. 
 
TALENT BOARD ROUND 2
Tom will be a better pro player than he has been a college player because at the pro level, he will finally find the challenge mentally and physically that he has been looking for.  I feel that playing football at the college level was not challenging enough for Tom, which is why he went back to boxing.  Tom will be an excellent Safety and as soon as he develops the instincts for the position, he will become the type of player a defensive coordinator can use all over the field.  By the time Tom works out at the combine, he just might move himself into the first round.  All he has to do is tell every team in the NFL that he will sign a contract that says that he will not box.  Thatís it, that all he has to do!  If he is willing to do that, he works out well (and I feel he will) and if his agent is smart enough to pull out his tapes from 2004, 2005 and the 2006 seasons, then Tom will move up in this draft.  If he doesnít work out well and will not sign a contract eliminating boxing from his interest, Tom will not be drafted until the later rounds.  For me personally, that will not change my talent score or opinion of Tomís ability to impact.  It just means that a team is going to get a hell of a safety and special teams player in the latter rounds of this draft.  Tom has the passion, heart, work ethic and athletic talent to impact.  What he lacks right now are the instincts and recognition skills, both of which can be developed.    Donít be surprised if he moves himself up into the latter part of the first round.  I can see a team like The Giants falling in love with this kid.  Tommy Z will be a hell of an NFL player.