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Zach Zenner – Superstar

But she wears short skirts, I wear T-shirts

She’s Cheer Captain and I’m on the bleachers

Dreaming ‘bout the day when you wake up and find

That what you’re looking for has been here the whole time

 

You belong with me- Taylor Swift

 

Hello, Max Mulitz here, local RotoViz writer and football enthusiast. Is your team’s running back making too few yards all the time? Do you want them to improve at the position without having to spend a valuable pick in the NFL draft? Think there’s no answer? You’re so stupid! There is! Zach Zenner.

Okay, lets start with a table comparing Zenner, the South Dakota State prospect, to two more well known prospects.

Name WT 40 Speed Score Agility Score Explosion Score Att/G Yards/Carry Rec Yds/Game CBS Expected Draft Position
Jay Ajayi 221 4.57 101.3 11.2 160 24.8 5.3 38.2 51
T.J. Yeldon 226 4.61 100.1 11.41 153 14.9 5 13.8 85
Zach Zenner 223 4.6 99.6 11.22 162 24.1 6 23.6 223

Admittedly, Zenner played FCS football and its probably fair to point out T.J. Yeldon is dramatically overvalued as a prospect, so a lot of later round guys would look good when juxtaposed against him. Still, the fact that Zenner is essentially a Jay Ajayi clone both athletically and production wise is pretty cool. In fairness I have no idea how old Zenner is, but Ajayi is young for a prospect and Zenner stayed in school through his senior year, so that would point in favor of Ajayi. On the other hand my point isn’t that Zenner is a better prospect than Ajayi, but rather that he’s pretty close for someone who costs essentially 100 times less to acquire.

This leaves us with the fact that Zenner didn’t play FBS football. Gosh, I sure would feel better about Zenner if I had a chart showing how he performed against FBS opponents…

Opponent Att yards YPA TDs Rec Rec Yds TDs Year
Kansas 23 183 8 1 4 27 0 2012
Nebraska 21 202 9.6 2 1 21 0 2013
Mizzou 17 103 6.1 2 7 41 0 2014

Oh.

There’s also the fact that Zenner has been absolutely destroying FCS football for each of the past three years as a total workhorse.

Year Team G Rush Yds Yd/Rush TDs Rec Yds Yd/Rec TDs
2011 SDkSt 11 107 470 4.4 3 18 130 7.2 2
2012 SDkSt 13 300 2044 6.8 13 28 197 7.0 0
2013 SDkSt 14 351 2015 5.7 23 21 251 12.0 2
2014 SDkSt 14 337 2019 6.0 22 28 331 11.8 4
Career   52 1095 6548 6.0 61 95 909 9.6 8

Some may be concerned about Zenner’s enormous collegiate workload. I would point out first that we’re pro collegiate workhorse RBs here at RotoViz. And second, that at Zenners’ cost, any positive value he provides before he breaks down is pretty much surplus value to what you have to pay for him.

My point through all of this isn’t that Zach Zenner is going to be Adrian Peterson or Arian Foster or be the next workhorse back, my point is he’s a prospect who almost surely, given the way the NFL values RB prospects, should be considered a 4th round prospect who is being incorrectly devalued into the 7th round because of where he played college football. My lesser point is that T.J. Yeldon is nowhere near qualifying for any of the draftable RB Profiles athletically and he sucked in college and as such probably shouldn’t be drafted. Valuing Zenner over Yeldon in the real draft qualifies as even more low-hanging fruit for NFL teams.

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