Zebrie is a quality football player who can play either offensive tackle position in a pinch. He has good size and strength and shows leadership skills through his play on the field. Zebrie will play any position you need on the offensive line, but his impact position for the next level (at first) is at the right tackle position. Once Zebrie gets moving, he looks like he might give you some pretty good times at the combine in the forty. He has the agility and overall athletic talent to move and get in front on screens and he does show solid lateral agility. Zebrie does a good job when blocking for running plays and has improved his pass blocking skills this year. He was moved to the left side from the right side this year and I think it was the best thing for him. It showed him how much he needed to improve in all phases of his game and I really think he has gotten better in every game I have seen him in this year.
Zebrie has the body type that makes it hard for him to anchor against the bull rush. He also is a waist bender, which puts him off balance a lot against speed rushers. He has long legs and arms, but a short body, very much like D'brickashaw Ferguson (LT, NY Jets). Defending against bull rushes will always be a bit of a problem for him and makes teams think that playing right tackle against stronger players in the passing game could be a bit of a problem. That means most teams are looking at Zebrie as a possible left tackle to go up against speed rushers. The problem with that is Zebrie has not shown the quickness and lateral agility to make most teams feel comfortable with him being a future left tackle. He is a bit of a tweener right now, but he has improved a lot this year. He has stepped up to the challenge.
I think if you give Zebrie some time, he can become a good left tackle in some offensive systems and an excellent right tackle in any system. I was surprised how much he improved this year once he had to play left tackle and, as I said before, I think it was the best thing for him. A bull rush will give him problems, but better techniques and understanding his opponent will allow him to anticipate it and block better against it. The waist bending he does comes from trying to anchor against the bull rush. If Zebrie learns better techniques against the bull rush, I suspect Zebrie will become less of a waist bender, more able to stay on balance and let his athletic talent work for him when defend against those speed rushes when pass blocking. This will allow him to move over to the left side where this kid could become one of the better left tackles from this draft. Zebrie is the type of player who will always give you a solid game and his leadership through his play will be an asset in the locker room for years to come. I don't think you can go wrong drafting a player like Zebrie and I suspect if he has some good numbers at the combine, you might even see him drafted at the back end of the first round. Give Zebrie some time and he should be stepping into your line-up sometime after his first year. That is, unless you need him ahead of that! He can handle it mentally, but you will have to live with some of his mistakes. The question you might be asking yourself right now is why, if I give Zebrie a second round TBR grade, he could be selected in the first round? I'm glad you asked. Offensive tackles are a valued position and especially the left tackle position. In spite of the fact that sometimes a player might not be an impact player or franchise player, drafting for that position (when you find a good solid player) becomes a higher priority than drafting solid players or higher graded players at other positions. Lots of teams do not include in their profiles and ratings of players, the value of the position those players play. For example, if you have two players of equal value on your board then you must look at the value of the position those players play in order to make a decision. If you do not include value then you are not drafting correctly for your team. Each team in the NFL will value different positions differently. Some might value pass rushers ahead of the left tackle position. I don't. I think a good coach can create a pass rush, but a good coach cannot create the talent needed to play left tackle. If you do not have a good left tackle, your passing offense is limited. Great players are great players, but when those projected to be great are all selected, you have to go to something else that will separate the next group of players and the value of the position that they play has to be one of the deciding factors. So, now you see how hard it might be to project where a player will be selected in the draft, for 32 teams, who have 32 different values for positions, in spite of their talent. Now you see how amazingly accurate Rob's value board has been over the years! It's the one on draft day some NFL teams are using and you can bet that if your team is trading back into the first round, you can bet it's because they are using Rob's board and know the player they want to select will not be available in the second round. Those teams that are trading back all the time know (by using Rob's board) that the players they are targeting will be available later so they are comfortable trading back. That's how it works and that's why we use the two board system. Rob and I invented it and it's exclusive to our site -- that's why some NFL teams who have drafted so well over the last few years come to us.
The BS Detector
Drew Boylhart Feb /12